The Unexpected Return of Dakota North, part 1

Addendum: R.I.P. Stan Lee.  The mid-1980s, when I was a serious comic book fan, was a great time for taking risks: it gave us Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, Watchmen, and Miracleman; Neil Gaiman’s Sandman; Frank Miller’s Daredevil and The Dark Knight Returns; and significant runs in all the major series, many of which have turned up as the plots of … Read More

Mount Horeb’s Psychic Boy…or Not

When you’re an author of fantasy and horror, and you live in a small town like Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, it’s inevitable that you get requests like the one I recently received from our library director, Jessica: “I have a spooky question for you.” She presented me with a badly-faded microfiche printout (see above) of a news story from 1909, about … Read More

The Vampires Want to Wear My Mud Shoes

One of my personal traditions is that, every October, I re-read Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s such a rich novel that I usually find at least one detail I’d never noticed before. This year, though, in addition to reading the actual novel, I’ve been reading a children’s version to my daughter (after all, what else can follow Frankenstein?). It’s easy to … Read More

Revisiting Night Streets, Part 3

You can read part 1 of this series here, and part 2 here. I’m old enough to remember when comics were considered strictly for kids. The very term “comic book” implies the immaturity and humor of the earliest examples. Comic strips in the newspapers were even grouped together on what was called the “funny pages.” The idea that one day comics would … Read More

Revisiting Night Streets, Part 2

Previously in Part 1, I wrote about the eighties comic Night Streets, which ended at issue #5, promising a storyline conclusion in issue #6, which never appeared.  The unresolved cliffhanger is a special kind of torture. If you’ve ever gotten emotionally invested in a story—whether a movie, TV, comic, or novel—the idea that there will never be a resolution can … Read More

Revisiting Night Streets, Part 1

With every bit of information and history seemingly at our fingertips, it can be hard to recall that once, finding out things was much harder. Occasionally, though, you run across a topic that hasn’t been done to death on the web, and for which there’s virtually no information. Then you have to roll up your sleeves and start digging. So … Read More

Finding the rhythm of another time and place

While revising The Fairies of Sadieville (available in two weeks!), my editor pointed out that some dialogue, for a subplot set in prehistory, sounded a bit too “modern.” When I stepped back and looked at it objectively, I had to agree. I had these primitive people speaking with the cadences, and more importantly in the syntax, of modernity. It was deliberate, since as always, I don’t want … Read More

Why fairies?

One of the most basic questions I get about the Tufa series, which concludes in April with The Fairies of Sadieville, is also one of the hardest to quantifiably answer: Why fairies? It certainly wasn’t an obvious interest. I grew up in a tiny Southern town, surrounded by friends and family who had no time for matters of imagination. And even … Read More

“Sadieville” and The Fairies of Sadieville

I’ve written about the music of the Tufa novels many times, from many different perspectives. The songs quoted in the text tend to be classic public domain folk songs, or songs written by musicians who have given me permission to use them. I have on occasion written lyrics myself (most extensively in Wisp of a Thing), but I make no … Read More

Interview: Sean Grigsby, author of SMOKE EATERS

Dragons are ubiquitous, and as a result, it can be difficult for a writer to find a new way to present them. Sean Grigsby, a fellow west Tennessean, has found a great approach: he combines dragons with his own experiences as a firefighter in his first novel, Smoke Eaters. I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of it, and … Read More