No. 25: “Vapors: The Essential G. Wayne Miller Fiction, Vol. 2”
Context at the end of this excerpt.
Other entries in #33Stories at the Table of Contents. See you tomorrow!
Five years ago this month, Crossroad Press published this second collection of my short fiction, a follow to "Since the Sky Blew Off: The Essential G. Wayne Miller Fiction, Vol. 1.”
“Vapors” includes 13 horror, science-fiction and mystery stories: “Nothing There,” “Vapors,” “The Senator,” “Sweetie,” “Honey Love,” “God of Self,” “Gnawing,” “Death Train,” “Simon,” “Drive,” “Chiganook,” “Monster” and “The Devil at Bay.” All but the atmospheric “Vapors” (pardon the pun), which I wrote in 2007 in a brief return to horror, had been previously published in magazines including the late Dave Silva’s The Horror Show.
And many of those, in turn, had been republished in collections, including the long-out-of-print “The Definitive Best of the Horror Show,” 1992, from Cemetery Dance Publications, which contains “Death Train.”
My limited boxed edition -- one of my treasures -- includes signatures from the wonderful writers Elizabeth Massie, Robert R. McCammon, Joe R. Lansdale and Dean R. Koontz, among others.
Tom Monteleone reprinted “Sweetie,” which is one of the strangest stories I ever wrote, in his 1991 collection, “Borderlands.”
And so forth and so on…
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READ “Since the Sky Blew Off: The Essential G. Wayne Miller Fiction, Vol. 1”
The collection includes my stories “God Can Be A Cruel Bastard,” “We Who Are His Followers,” “Not Just Traces of Me,” “All My Children,” “A Process of Change,” “Windhams’ Folly,” “Freddy and Rita,” “To Be Cold, Like Trees,” “Since the Sky Blew Off” and “The Good Book”; plus two screen treatments: “Money for Nothing” and “Alden’s Neck.”
The introduction to “Vapors: The Essential G. Wayne Miller Fiction, Vol. 2”:
F. Scott Fitzgerald may have been right when he famously observed that there are no second acts in American life. In writing, however, there sometimes is a second act –– and even a third. The book you are about to read is proof.
From the earliest age, fiction was my first love (I talk about that in an interview posted halfway down this page: www.gwaynemiller.com/inter.htm). I wrote stories and then outlines and drafts of novels, a satisfying Act One. Then the real world called. When I graduated college, journalism still offered jobs a-plenty for writers. Monetarily, at least, the genre was easier than fiction -- one has to eat, after all. So Act Two began, and it continues to this day, with three decades as a Providence Journal staff writer and eight books of non-fiction (and three documentary movies) to my name.
The first act seemed to have ended (or at least sputtered to an intermission) in the 1990s, after publication of a novel, Thunder Rise, and dozens of horror, mystery, crime and sci-fi short stories. I kept writing fiction, albeit at a slower pace, as that decade closed and the new millennium began. There’s only so much time in a day.
Enter the good folks at Crossroad Press, David Niall Wilson and David Dodd. They had an idea for a third act, though I myself initially did not see it that way.
They wanted to publish an e-book version of Thunder Rise, which had been released in hardcover and paperback editions. They did, in 2012, along with an audio book, released in 2013. They wanted to publish the other never-before-released books in the Thunder Rise trilogy –– Asylum and Summer Place –– which they did, this year. They wanted a short story collection, Since the Sky Blew Off, which they published in 2012. Now comes volume two of the short stories, with at least one more on tap.
So Vapors is another scene from my writer’s Act Three, which is an echo, or a continuation, or whatever, or Act One.
Vapors contains some new stories and some older ones previously published in the late Dave Silva’s now-legendary The Horror Show and other magazines. The roots of all lie in that intermissive period of my writing life when the still-legendary NECON, the New England Writers’ Conference, was the highlight of the summer for me and so many other writers of horror, fantasy and science-fiction, all the way back to the earliest days with Stephen King, Peter Straub, Robert McCammon, Yvonne Navarro, Tom Monteleone, Elizabeth Massie, John Skipp, John Farris, the 2013 NECON Legend Chet Williamson, and the late Charles L. Grant, a fellow Rhode Islander, and Les Daniels. Like me, some of these writers have been brought to a larger audience by Crossroad Press.
Here’s to second and third acts -- and however many more may follow! I have the fiction bug again, big-time.
My fondest wish, as always, is that you, the reader, will enjoy the fruits of something I love so dearly: writing. Visit me on www.gwaynemiller.com and drop me a line, will you? Safe journey...