Unidentified Funny Objects 5 released!

September 19, 2016

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You can now purchase the UFO5 e-book on Amazon and elsewhere!

I delivered the e-book to Kickstarter backers last week and print copies are all shipping out today. Meantime, the e-book has gone live on major retails Sunday evening. Here’s where you can get your copy (more retailers like Apple will be adding it shortly.)

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

I hope you enjoy this volume and if you do read it, please consider writing a review. Amazon uses the number of reviews to determine the level of promotion it provides to certain books, so every review truly counts!

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Two New Stories, Free to Read

September 14, 2016

It’s been a busy month. I traveled to Worldcon in Kansas City where I had a wonderful time, followed it up with a family vacation to Costa Rica where I also had a wonderful time, except I came back with a bad ear infection in both ears. (Bright side: the infection didn’t kick in while we were on vacation, only after.) I’ve been on two antibiotics and it’s finally clearing up enough to where I can write and work. Let me tell you, those things aren’t fun.

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Meantime, two of my brand-new stories have been published! “Dante’s Unfinished Business” was released on September 1 in Galaxy’s Edge magazine. It’s free to read for two months, and available via subscription/purchase thereafter. As I enjoy experimenting with all forms and styles of humor, it occurred to me that I’ve never written a pot humor story in the style of Cheech and Chong (well, sort of.) So I decided to try my hand at it, blatantly ignoring the fact that I’ve never actually smoked any pot. Making sure my references were authentic meant getting an entirely different set of beta readers in addition to the ones I normally use. But I’m told I mostly got the references right, so I hope you’ll enjoy the tale. I also wrote it after binge-watching two seasons of Rick and Morty and I think a lot of the humor in the story was also influenced by that. Plotwise, it’s a loose retelling of Dante’s Inferno, except Dante is a 21st century pothead and instead of Virgil he is shown around hell by the ghost of Bob Marley.

unrequitedThe second story was just published online today, and will be in this week’s issue of the journal of Nature. “A Perfect Medium for Unrequited Love” is about artificial intelligence, love, and embedding communications “in the most interesting of media.” I wrote a more detailed “the making of” for the Nature Futures blog and you can read it here. I enjoy writing about artificial intelligence. Another story that explores its themes is forthcoming from Amazing Stories in the coming months or weeks.

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Worldcon 2016 Schedule

August 17, 2016

I’ll be in Kansas City for Worldcon this coming weekend. Below is the list of panels and events I’m scheduled to attend. Please say hello if you see me! I’m also extremely honored to act as a designated acceptor for Daily Science Fiction at the Hugo ceremony. That means if they win, I will need to go up on stage and accept the award on their behalf. And, either way, I get to sit in one of the few front rows, attend the pre-party and the after party and otherwise have the VIP experience. So it’s really Jonathan and Michele at DSF doing me a favor, and not the other way around!

I will also spend some time at the Arc Manor/Phoenix Pick table in the dealer room, promoting our upcoming anthology and generally hanging out with the awesome folks there.  Other than that, here’s my schedule:

Thursday, 2pm: Galaxy’s Edge group reading, 2504B

Thursday, 4pm: Editing and Crafting the Short Story panel, 2206

Thursday, 5pm: Truly, Madly, Funny: SF That Makes Us Smile, 2204

Friday, 11am: Autographing (designated autographing space)

Friday, 2pm: The Art and Science of Fiction Translation. 3501F

Saturday, 10am: Designing Great Board Games, 2205

Link to a detailed schedule at the MidAmericon site.

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The Hook: Stay Crazy by Erica L. Satifka

August 15, 2016

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The Hook:

Dr. Atchison never trimmed his nose hairs. That was the first thing Emmeline Kalberg hated about him. There were other reasons to hate him, of course: his condescending tone, his haughty manner, the way he’d tear apart your room when you were out at group therapy – all in the name of “mental health,” of course. But the nose hairs, those were Em’s main complaint about the good doctor, and she trembled with the urge to leap over his weathered oak desk and pull them out herself.

“I’m not sure you’re ready, Ms. Kalberg.” Atchison flipped through the thick file in front of him, brow knitted. He paused for a long while before setting down the file and placing his pale, manicured hands atop it.

“Please, Dr. Atchison,” Em said, “I have to go home today. My mother is driving all the way here to pick me up.”

The doctor sighed, a little high-pitched whine that made Em want to strangle him. “Well, the other doctors seem to think you’re well enough to go. They’re probably right.”

What you mean, Em thought, is that my insurance ran out. But she forced a smile, and kept her mouth shut.

Erica L. Satifka writes:

Stay Crazy is about the battle between two opposing otherworldly forces, centered on an interdimensional nexus point that just happens to reside within a big-box store in small town Pennsylvania.

But the opening doesn’t show any of that, because the novel is shown from the perspective of Em Kalberg, a woman recently diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia who isn’t sure if the cosmic forces are even real. At the novel’s start, she’s being released from a mental hospital after a two-month stay, and she’s full of anger, mostly at herself. But she can’t express her anger the way she wants to, so she focuses on random pet peeves, like nose hairs and imagined whines.

I chose this scene to open the book because it’s the start of Em picking her life back up. It’s the transition between the “before” and the “after,” when her entire circumstances have completely changed. Little does she know that things are about to change again, when she gets a job at Savertown USA (the fictional big-box store) and finds herself tangled in an invisible war.

The beginning of the book, though, doesn’t necessarily tip the reader into knowing this is science fiction, and that’s something I had to consider carefully. If someone missed the cover and the back cover copy and the fact that it’s published by Apex, would they think I had committed an act of – gasp – literary fiction? However, I just ran with it, because Em’s personal journey of accepting her mental illness is just as important as the spec-fic shenanigans.

Em has a healthy mistrust of authority, which proves useful to the plot and which you can see right away. While her stay at the hospital was probably for the best, in her opinion it’s gone on entirely too long. Her sarcastic, antagonistic relationship with Dr. Atchison is repeated over and over with other well-meaning authority figures, and avoiding a return trip to the mental hospital
is one of her primary goals.

Will she succeed in staying out of the hospital? Will the destruction of the universe be stopped?

And just what goes on behind the scenes of an entity-haunted big-box store anyway? Read Stay Crazy and find out for yourself!

Buy Stay Crazy on Amazon

About the author:

Erica L. Satifka is a writer and/or friendly artificial construct, forged in a heady mix of iced coffee and sarcasm. She enjoys rainy days, questioning reality, ignoring her to-do list, and adding to her collection of tattoos. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Shimmer, Lightspeed, and Intergalactic Medicine Show, and her debut novel Stay Crazy was released in August 2016 by Apex Publications. Originally from Pittsburgh, she now lives in Portland, Oregon with her spouse Rob and an indeterminate number of cats. Visit her online at www.ericasatifka.com.

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UFO5 Cover and Table of Contents

July 30, 2016

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Foreword by Alex Shvartsman
“My Enemy, the Unicorn” by Bill Ferris
“The Trouble with Hairy” by David Gerrold
“B.U.M.P. in the Knight” by Esther Friesner
“If I Could Give This Time Machine Zero Stars, I Would” by James Wesley Rogers
“The Pi Files” by Laura Resnick
“Prophet Margins” by Zach Shephard
“The Deliverable” by Shaenon K. Garrity
“The Mayoral Stakes” by Mike Resnick
“Rude Mechanicals” by Jody Lynn Nye
“Kaylee the Huntress” by Tim Pratt
“Best Chef Season Three: Tau Ceti E” by Caroline M. Yoachim
“Won’t You Please Give One of These Species-Planets a Second Chance?” by Nathan Hillstrom
“Fantastic Coverage” by Mitchell Shanklin
“Mistaken Identity” by Daniel J. Davis
“Customer Service Hobgoblin” by Paul R. Hardy
“The Lesser of Two Evils” by Shane Halbach
“Appointment at Titlanitza” by Fred Stesney
“The Problem with Poofs” by Gini Koch

UFO5 is off to the printer and will be published in September.

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Announcing The Cackle of Cthulhu Anthology

July 21, 2016

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I’ve been sitting on this news for months. It’s the secret project I was hinting at in my anthology update a few weeks ago. But now that the contract is signed, I can finally announce that I will be editing an anthology for Baen!

The Cackle of Cthulhu will be an anthology of Lovecraftian humor, half reprints and half original fiction. This is a topic I know a thing or two about. There are a number of great Lovecraftian humor stories out there and I will endeavor to collect a fun variety of them in this book, as well as to solicit a number of new ones.

There won’t be an open submission window for this anthology, but if you know of a great Lovecraftian humor story you feel I should take a close look at, please let me know about it in the comments or via social media.

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Mailing List Activated

July 20, 2016

Writers who are smarter than me (aka writers) keep telling me that I must have a mailing list. Well, fine then. I went ahead and made one.

My plan is to update once or twice a month, but also to provide anyone kind enough to sign up for these updates with some exclusive content: I will send out a free short story or flash fiction every month (from my many previously published pieces for now, but if the list grows popular enough I’ll consider posting something original!) I will also do raffles and share some unique specials through the list. I might even share a few tidbits from my novel-in-progress in the coming months. Which is to say, sign up. Please? With sugar on top?

Click here to sign up.

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