H. G. Wells, Secret Agent Novella Update

July 3, 2015


I have the proofs of the physical book in hand and they sure look good! The e-book and paperback versions will be up on Amazon next week. I will post the link as soon as it’s up. If you really don’t want to wait, you can order your copy of the paperback from the CreateSpace store already:


If I’m very lucky, I might receive print copies in time for Readercon next week, but more likely they will show up the week after that. Also, those who backed the Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma kickstarter last year will get their e-copies today!



The Hook: Letters to Zell by Camille Griep

July 1, 2015


The Hook:

We were all waiting for you at the Swinging Vine so we could start our book club, when poor DJ dropped your note off with the first round of wine. You won’t be surprised to learn Bianca went off like a confetti cannon, pelting him with accusations of cowardice and collusion.

All this drama to let us know you left to manage a unicorn preserve? I thought that sort of rural charity work was only for indulgent royalty out West. You said in your note, “I’ve always dreamed of making a difference.” Since when? I know you love animals, but this is a bit more involved than leaving a saucer of milk out for stray kittens.

Camille Griep writes:

Letters to Zell is the story of what happens when CeCi (Cinderella), Bianca (Snow White), and Rory (Sleeping Beauty) begin to compare their dreams with the expectations of adulthood and womanhood.

This examination – and the adventure that follows – does not come without a catalyst. Not only is Rapunzel (Zell) the recipient of the letters within, her own self-examination and subsequent departure sets things in motion, as her friends react to the news she’s decided to chase her dream of opening a unicorn preserve.

As was told to me so often as I wrote this, fairy tale retellings are a dime a dozen these days. In order to use these Grimm princesses as a mirror for reality, I chose not to retell their tales, but to work in the blank space of their unwritten Happily Ever Afters.

I began Letters to Zell at the wine bar after the info bomb for three reasons:

1. Because the novel is quite satire-heavy, I wanted to take the clichés of female friendship, wine bars and book clubs, trashy novels and secrets, and smash them into a sit-com ready tableau. Here we meet three friends waiting around for a fourth, who not only isn’t going to show, but has cleared out entirely.

2. We’re immediately immersed in the three voices we’ll hear for the rest of the narrative – though we begin with their personalities turned up to eleven, as any good satire does.

The first letter belongs to the wry and practical CeCi, who explains the reactions of the foul-mouthed loose cannon, Bianca, and the correspondingly prim and proper Rory. CeCi herself puzzles over Zell’s motives for wanting something more, for leaving, and for not saying goodbye – incidentally proving Zell’s fears of a messy farewell would have been more than founded.

3. Starting the book here also gave me the ability to immediately introduce the internal conflict and central theme of the book. While CeCi is hurt and indignant, she’s also profoundly curious, even jealous. Her ensuing realization that her love of cooking could become something more permanent blossoms into her excursions in Los Angeles, enrollment in cooking school, and the close examination of the future she is supposed to want.

Settling in with CeCi, the most reliable of the three narrators, puts the reader on a path toward appreciating the arcs of the more extreme of their number. As the satire softens and the clichés fall away, CeCi will continue to guide the reader via utilizing her stature as Zell’s very best friend. I hope fairy tale and epistolary aficionados alike will find joy in this intimate tale of contemporary friendship and the pursuit of happiness.

Buy Letters to Zell on Amazon.

About the Author:

Camille Griep lives and writes just north of Seattle, Washington. She is the managing editor of Easy Street and a senior editor at The Lascaux Review. Letters to Zell, is her first novel. You can read more at www.camillegriep.com or chat with her on Twitter @camillethegriep.


If you’re an author with a book coming out soon and you wish to participate on The Hook, please read this.

Islands in the Sargasso – Galaxy’s Edge magazine issue 15

June 30, 2015


The July issue of Galaxy’s Edge is now live, and you can read my novelette, “Islands in the Sargasso”, for free — but only for the next couple of months, until the September issue is released and then you’ll have to buy the issue. So, read now! It has alien invasion fleets, a galaxy-spanning conspiracy, and drug addiction.

I always love being published in Galaxy’s Edge — not only because it’s edited by Mike Resnick, whom I greatly admire, but also because I get to share the table of contents with all kinds of cool people. Just look at the above!

At 8000 words, “Islands in the Sargasso” will briefly become the longest piece of my fiction available — but only briefly. The H. G. Wells, Secret Agent novella is coming out very soon! In fact, July 2015 will have more new words written by me released into the world than any month prior. I’m super excited!







Funny Science Fiction Update #2

June 29, 2015
Funny Science Fiction

Funny Science Fiction

I’ve read a LOT of funny science fiction stories so far, and have a good number in my “maybe” pile, but this is an update on the stories that have made it into the book already:

“Observation Post” by Mike Resnick (Beyond the Sun, Fairwood Press, 2013)

“Flying on My Hatred of My Neighbor’s Dog” by Shaenon Garrity (Drabblecast, 2013)

“Whaliens” by Lavie Tidhar (Analog, 2014)

“Half a Conversation, Overheard Inside an Enormous Sentient Slug” by Oliver Buckram (F&SF, 2013)

“Wikihistory” by Desmond Warzel (Abyss & Apex, 2007)

“See Dangerous Earth-Possibles!” by Tina Connolly (Lightspeed Women Destroy Science Fiction, 2014)

“Kulturkampf” by Anatoly Belilovsky (Immersion Book of Steampunk, Immersion Press, 2011)

“HARK! Listen to the Animals” by Ken Liu and Lisa Tang Liu (Galaxy’s Edge, 2014)

“Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs” by Leonard Richardson (Strange Horizons, 2009)

“Miss Darcy’s First Intergalactic Ballet Class” by Dantzel Cherry (Galaxy’s Edge, 2015)

“Pidgin” by Lawrence M. Schoen (Aliens and A.I., Eggplant Literary Productions, 2005)

“Nothing, Ventured” by James Beamon (AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, 2013)

“Troublesolver” by Tim Pratt (Subterranean Press, 2009)


If you plan on sending a suggestion, please do so in the next day or two at the latest. I hope to finalize the TOC in the next week.


The Hook: Cities and Thrones by Carrie Patel

June 28, 2015


The Hook:

Jane Lin and Fredrick Anders had been on the run for two weeks when they reached Meyerston. They fled not only the revolt in Recoletta, but also the news that would surely follow it. It was a vague and amorphous thing, but Jane had seen well enough how it sowed panic, suspicion, and violence in its wake. She was not certain what form it would take in the communes, but she knew they would do well to stay ahead of it.

As difficult as it was to gauge the progress of an invisible and impersonal antagonist, in their journey between the communes, they’d encountered nothing more than courteous – if deliberate – remoteness. Footpaths and farmers guided them from one commune to the next, where they were received and dispatched with polite disinterest.

Until they reached Meyerston.

Carrie Patel writes:

One of the challenges of beginning a sequel is picking up from a previous story without slowing down in the new story. You want to bring new readers into the action without giving them whiplash, and you want to serve up your stakes with a side of context.

What better way to kick things off than to have your characters start the new book by running for their lives from the ending of the last book?

Cities and Thrones is about a revolution that starts in the city of Recoletta and spreads. It’s about the characters that alternately flee, fight, and adapt to that revolution. It follows the aftershocks of all of the turmoil and upheaval from The Buried Life and traces the fault lines that split across a region and the people who live in it.

In the opening paragraphs, Jane and Fredrick are escaping Recoletta, the only home they’ve ever known, to shelter in strange new lands. They’re fleeing the grim certainty of violent change for the uncertainty of the unknown.

And all the while, they’re being chased by something that’s little more than a whisper on the wind—the unrest that’s riding in the wake of the revolution and the mention of their names as conspirators and fugitives.

So they scramble and sneak, navigating new territory and the guarded people who inhabit it. All goes as planned until they reach the quiet farming commune of Meyerston, where once again, everything changes.

Buy Cities and Thrones on Amazon.

About the author:

Carrie Patel is an expatriate Texan living in Southern California. Her first novel, The Buried Life, met with critical acclaim, including a starred review in Publishers Weekly. Cities and Thrones comes out July 7. She also works as a narrative designer for Obsidian Entertainment, and she wrote most recently for the RPG Pillars of Eternity. Her short fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

Exchange virtual fist-bumps with her on Twitter at @Carrie_Patel, or visit her website.


If you’re an author with a book coming out soon and you wish to participate on The Hook, please read this.

StarShipSofa Podcast Open Submission Window

June 17, 2015


StarShipSofa is one of the most respected science fiction podcasts in the business, and up until now they’ve solicited all of their material directly. So it’s kind of a big deal that, for the first time ever, associate editor Jeremy Szal is holding an open submission window.

He’s looking for previously-published science fiction stories which have not been produced elsewhere as a podcast. There’s only a brief submission window, so send him something soon if you want to be a part of this iconic ‘cast.

Link to Jeremy’s original post.





H. G. Wells, Secret Agent humor steampunk novella, coming in July 2015

June 12, 2015

I’m happy to share the cover of my upcoming humor novella, designed by the very talented Jay O’Connell:



H. G. Wells is a Victorian-era James Bond who must defend England and the world against time travelers, alien incursions and interdimensional threats (if he can learn quickly on the job, and survive the human foes he encounters, that is!)

During his missions, Wells will alternately team up with Anton Chekhov to foil an assassination plot against Prince Nicholas Romanov of Russia, oversee the construction of the giant antenna designed to detect alien invasion fleets (or, as we know it, the Eiffel Tower), rub shoulders with the likes of Arthur Conan Doyle, Marie Curie, Jules Verne and Annie Oakley, and risk everything to encourage cooperation amongst the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies.

This humorous steampunk novella is filled with Easter eggs and British pop-culture references, from The Beatles and Ian Fleming to Douglas Adams and Dr. Who.

What makes this story different:

Every single named character, from the titular Herbert Wells to the lowest gate guard, is based on a real historical personage who could have conceivably been found at the time and place of the story (which spans from 1887 to 1889.) Although the individuals the characters are based on happen to be real, the story is riddled with intentional anachronisms.

Wells, who is the newest agent of a Torchwood-like organization, wears a Babel Fish translator device, travels in the yellow submarine, and rubs shoulders with some of the most iconic individuals from the late nineteenth century.

Here’s a brief sample. Wells is at a party at the Hermitage Palace in St. Petersburg.


Back in the Armorial Hall, Wells sought to soothe his bruised ego with strong spirits. He approached one of several bars set up for the guests. He waited for the bartender to finish serving a glass of sparkling wine to an attractive blonde.

“Have you got any gin?” Wells asked.

The bartender shook his head. “Vodka,” he said curtly. “Seven different flavors.”

“Obviously,” said Wells. “Very well. I’ll have a vodka mixed with a shot of the Kina Lillet you’ve got over there.” Out of the corner of his eye he noticed the blonde watching him with interest. Perhaps this day wasn’t entirely ruined yet. “This mixture is my own invention; I’m going to patent it when I think of a good name. Make sure it’s stirred, not shaken. Wouldn’t want the drink to be weak.”

He turned toward the blonde and flashed his best smile. “My name is Wells. Herbert Wells.”

The blonde giggled and walked off, carrying her glass. Wells sighed as he watched her go. Things really weren’t working out in the way he had imagined. He waited for his drink, composing excuses for Ministra MacLean in his head. His first mission for the Ministry was shaping up to be his last.

Wells took a swig of the proffered cocktail and coughed violently. The drink turned out to be far more potent than he had anticipated.

“You should have added lemon to that. I take a slice whenever I have to drink Cognac. Makes the vile stuff taste almost tolerable.”

Wells looked up at the man advising him, and swallowed the biting remark he was about to make. Standing in front of him was the heir to the Russian throne.


Readers familiar with Ian Fleming’s work may note that Wells is trying to pull a James Bond here. I couldn’t have him order a Martini because this drink hadn’t been invented yet in 1887, but Fleming was very helpful in that he wrote the line, which I steal wholesale, where Bond orders what becomes known as a Vesper Martini.

There are lots of Easter egg moments in the story where dialog or exposition are a nod to some pop culture or historical reference. For those interested in seeing if they caught them all, I’m providing a complete list of annotations after the story, which will also include some relevant images as well.


H. G. Wells, Secret Agent is slated for the release as an e-book in July.




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