Monday, May 2, 2016

Nomination News: The Nameless Dark - A Collection nominated for 2015 Shirley Jackson Award for Best Single-Author Collection

It gives me great pleasure to announce that The Nameless Dark - A Collection was officially nominated today for the 2015 Shirley Jackson Award for Best Single-Author Collection.

I count this as especially meaningful, as The Shirley Jackson Awards have always focused on those writers that I personally think are among the best working today, consistently nominating and awarding such writers, editors, and other creatives as Brian Evenson, Michael Marshall Smith, Laird Barron, Nathan Ballingrud, Elizabeth Hand, Joel Lane, Mike Mignola, S.P. Miskowski, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Gemma Files, Ellen Datlow, Melanie and Steve Rasnic Tem, Stephen King, Stephen Graham Jones, Livia Llewellyn, Christopher Golden, Tim Lebbon, Peter Straub, Neil Gaiman, S. T. Joshi, Steve Berman, Reggie Oliver, Michael Cisco, Kelly Link, Tim Waggoner, Lucius Sheppard, Kelly Link, Glen Hirshberg, Stephen Jones, Jack Ketchum, Ian Rogers, Jeffrey Ford, Joyce Carol Oates, Nicole Cushing, Ramsey Campbell, Nina Allen, Josh Malerman, Robert Levy, Kate Jonez, Ross E. Lockhart, Michael Kelly, Mark Morris, and others. Those I left out I haven't yet had the opportunity to read, but always use the Shirley Jackson Award nominee list as a browsers guideline.

These are the names I regularly seek out. That these individuals have also been honored by the Shirley Jackson Awards in eight short years, while not necessarily other awards organizations, makes my appreciation all the greater that I am joining these names with my own. To say I'm humbled to be in this august company would be a disgusting understatement, but I'll say it anyway - I am incredibly humbled to be in this august company.

Also important to note, Shirley Jackson is an icon of dark fiction, and a master of the short tale. Ask me on the right day, and I'll tell you that "The Lottery" is the best short story ever written (on the wrong day, I'll tell you that it's Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find"). So, receiving a nomination for a prize named after Ms. Jackson is all the more special because of her impact, and what she did to push forward the genres of horror, supernatural, and fantastical fiction.

I don't write for awards, just like I don't write for reviews. But when I receive a positive review, it makes me feel good, knowing that the work connected with a reader. That's the whole point of all of this, at least in my mind. To write fiction that resonates, entertains, possibly transports and builds something new inside the brain of the reader.

So, too, is it with awards. I never expected to receive any accolades for my debut collection, or for any of the stories it contains. But receiving an honor from an organization that I truly, truly respect, based on the people involved and the past nominees and winners, is a wonderful feeling, and provides further evidence that what I am doing - writing dark fiction - is worthwhile, and has meaning to readers and colleagues.

I'd like to take this time to again thank Nathan Ballingrud for the brilliant foreword and the recommendation, and Laird Barron for the double rec to Lethe Press. Both of these guys helped get my work on the right desk. And I'd like to thank Lethe head honcho Steve Berman for taking a chance on a collection of dark stories written by a relative unknown.

Most of all, and it cannot be understated, I want to express my profound appreciation and head over heels, cartoon-eyed love for my extraordinary wife, Ives Hovanessian, for the priceless editorial work she did on these tales, helping to hone down and lean up my writing, as well as providing important plot elements, including the ending of "The Screamer." She quite literally found The Screamer for me after I was searching for it in vain for several years. She also found the collection cover artist (Arnaud de Vallois!) and designed what became the final look of the cover. But even more importantly, she has my eternal gratitude for being the first person in my life who gave me the confidence to be myself, cut my losses (in the form of 50 billion shitty scripts), and truly write what and how I wanted to write, following a calling I first heard in childhood but never answered until decades later. I've said this before in interviews and conversations, but it truly bears repeating that I wouldn't be working in fiction right now if it wasn't for her, and so I wouldn't be here writing this to you, dear reader. So, Ivy jan, this nomination is for you, and a fitting tribute after you first read to me aloud "The Lottery" a half decade ago and blew my mind yet again.

To my fellow nominees for all of the 2015 Shirley Jackson Awards, I wish you a hearty congrats and much luck, as it seems we're all going to need it.