Cover reveal: The Middling Affliction

November 11, 2021

Here’s the cover of my humorous urban fantasy novel The Middling Affliction, forthcoming form Caezik SF&F on April 12, 2022! Art is by Tulio Brito. You can preorder the book now on Amazon, B&N, and BookShop.org

The Dresden Files meets American Gods in New York City.

What would you do if you lost everything that mattered to you, as well as all means to protect yourself and others, but still had to save the day? Conrad Brent is about to find out.

Conrad Brent protects the people of Brooklyn from monsters and magical threats. The snarky, wisecracking guardian also has a dangerous secret: he’s one in a million – literally.

Magical ability comes to about one in every 30,000 and can manifest at any age. Conrad is rarer than this, however. He’s a middling, one of the half-gifted and totally despised. Most of the gifted community feels that middlings should be instantly killed. The few who don’t flat out hate them still aren’t excited to be around middlings. Meaning Conrad can’t tell anyone, not even his best friends, what he really is.

Conrad hides in plain sight by being a part of the volunteer Watch, those magically gifted who protect their cities from dangerous, arcane threats. And, to pay the bills, Conrad moonlights as a private detective and monster hunter for the gifted community. Which helps him keep up his personal fiction – that he’s a magical version of Batman. Conrad does both jobs thanks to charms, artifacts, and his wits, along with copious amounts of coffee. But little does he know that events are about to change his life…forever.

When Conrad discovers the Traveling Fair auction house has another middling who’s just manifested her so-called powers on the auction block, he’s determined to save her, regardless of risk. But what he finds out while doing so is even worse – the winning bidder works for a company that’s just created the most dangerous chemical weapon to ever hit the magical community.

Before Conrad can convince anyone at the Watch of the danger, he’s exposed for what he really is. Now, stripped of rank, magical objects, friends and allies, Conrad has to try to save the world with only his wits. Thankfully though, no one’s taken away his coffee.


Three New Publications

November 2, 2021

I have two new story and a translation out this week!

“Lajos and his Bees” by K.A. Teryna is out in the November/December issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. It’s an excellent secondary-world fantasy and it found a great home in this storied publication.

My own story, “Winner Takes All” is part of the new anthology of space westerns, out today from Baen books. Gunfight on Europa Station (edited by David Boop) ebook is available now while the paperbacks have been temporarily delayed and should be releasing soon.

Last but not least, “The Going Rate” is a funny and snarky short story in the current issue of Galaxy’s Edge which is temporarily FREE to read online. It’ll only remain free for a couple of months, so don’t wait to read it.

Here’s a brief sample:

The reckoning was overdue, and if it took dark magic to serve Alfred his just desserts, so be it. Besides, the book on witchcraft Karen had been reading was due back at the library on the following Tuesday. Before her rational side could take over, she grabbed the paperback, flipped to the earmarked page, and marched into her empty garage.

Karen quickly discovered that spell books were similar to cookbooks in that the recipe always required ingredients an average person would never keep in their pantry. Armed with her years of experience cooking with dried bouillon cubes instead of homemade chicken stock, Karen was certain she could cast a perfectly serviceable spell by working with reasonable substitutions.

Since she was neither an old-timey schoolteacher nor a hopscotch-playing preteen, Karen owned zero pieces of chalk. She also didn’t relish ruining a perfectly serviceable garage floor, and so Karen found a disused dry-erase board, placed it onto the ground, and drew the pentagram with an erasable pink marker.

Karen paused to admire her handiwork, then winced as she read the next paragraph from her book. Who could possibly be expected to possess a flask of virgin blood collected during the vernal equinox, even if the recipe called for only a small flask? After some deliberation, she poured two fingers of room-temperature Bloody Mary mix into five souvenir NASCAR shot glasses and placed one at each point of the pentagram.


Announcing the Rosetta Archive

October 28, 2021

I’ll be co-editing an anthology with Tarryn Thomas. Press release copied from Future SF

Announcing The Rosetta Archive

UFO Publishing and Future Affairs Administration team up to produce an anthology to celebrate the Rosetta Awards and promote translated fiction.

The Rosetta Archive: Notable SF/F Short Fiction in Translation, edited by Alex Shvartsman and Tarryn Thomas, will contain approximately 100,000 words of translated fiction originally published in English during the year 2020.

Pending author and translator approval, the anthology will include the stories shortlisted for the Rosetta Awards in 2021, translations published in Future Science Fiction Digest in 2020, and a number of additional translations selected by the editors.

The editors will also acquire Chinese language rights on behalf of the Future Affairs Administration whenever possible. FAA will feature those stories on their apps and social media, and seek a potential partnership to publish a version of the anthology in China.

“If the inaugural anthology is well-received, we’ll consider publishing annual editions, with the 2023 volume featuring translations from 2021, and so forth,” said Shvartsman.

The book will be published in February, 2022 in trade paperback and ebook formats.

UFO Publishing (USA) is a Brooklyn, NY-based small press and a publisher of Future Science Fiction Digest.

The Future Affairs Administration (China) is a technological/cultural brand focusing on the future, producing original content with a futuristic vision for a Golden Age of Chinese science fiction.

Alex Shvartsman (USA) is the editor of over a dozen anthologies and of Future Science Fiction Digest. He’s the author of two novels and over 120 short stories, and a Russian to English translator.

Tarryn Thomas (South Africa) is a professional copy editor. She’s an associate editor at Future Science Fiction Digest and an editor at Nightshade and Moonlight Publishing.


The Middling Affliction Paperback Preorders are Live

September 21, 2021

The release date for The Middling Affliction has been announced: it will be hitting bookshelves everywhere on April 12, 2022!

Early preorders are very important. They make my publisher happy, instill confidence in bookstores and distributors to carry this title, and most importantly, they make me feel like a real writer. So, won’t you pretty please order your copy soon? I even have a bonus incentive for you:

#SFWAPro

Preorder The Middling Affliction paperback from Amazon, B&N, Bookshop.org, or your favorite bookstore. Email me a receipt (a copy of the email or a snapshot of the receipt with your phone will do) to ufopublishing at gmail dot com and I will send you a FREE e-book of steampunk humor novella H. G. Wells, Secret Agent, or an issue of Future Science Fiction Digest–your choice!

Not sure yet? Read more about the book and sample the first chapter at the new dedicated Conradverse page.

Preorder now: [Amazon] [B&N] [Bookshop.org]


Book Fiend Reader Fest on September 25

September 18, 2021

I’ll be doing a live book event this coming weekend in Manchester, CT! It is (at least for now) the only in-person event on my schedule for 2021 other than Worldcon.

As part of the Book Fiend Readers Fest, I will participate on the following programming items:

Time, Space, and Alternate Universes panel – 1:10pm

Reading – 1:50

Attendees will get to hear an excerpt from a brand-new Conradverse story; a world premiere!

The rest of the day I will share a table with Esther Friesner in the dealers room. Please feel free to stop by for free signatures, free candy, and free advice (that last one worth almost as much as you will have paid for it!) We will also both have books for sale, and maybe a gently-used kidney. But probably just books.

#SFWAPro


Future SF Issue 12 Cover and TOC

September 6, 2021

Issue 12 launches on September 15. Buy it on all major ebook platforms or subscribe to our Patreon to get the issue early, for as little as $1 per month!

“Old People’s Folly” by Nora Schinnerl (Austria)
“The Life Cycle of a Cyber-Bar” by Arthur Liu (China) translated by Nathan Faries (USA)
“When a Sleeping Seed Blooms” by Alexandra Seidel (Germany)
“Nobel Prize Speech Draft of Paul Winterhoeven, with Personal Notes” by Jane Espenson (USA)
“When the Mujna Begins” by Oleg Divov (Russia) translated by Alex Shvartsman (USA)

Cover art: Tithi Luadthong
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My next novel: The Middling Affliction

September 1, 2021

I’m thrilled to finally announce this bit of news I’ve been sitting on for a few months. Now the ink is dry and the Publishers Marketplace announcement is out, so…

I sold my second novel, The Middling Affliction, to Caezik SF & Fantasy, in a deal negotiated by Valentina Sainato and Joshua Bilmes of JABberwocky Literary Agency.

Caezik Press is an imprint of Arc Manor. They publish Heinlein, Rob Sawyer, Ben Bova, and Harry Turtledove among others. They also publish Galaxy’s Edge magazine where many of my short stories have appeared. I’m thrilled to be working with them!

The Middling Affliction is a humorous urban fantasy adventure I like to explain as “The Dresden Files meets American Gods in New York City.” Those who have read my short stories may already be familiar with Conrad Brent, a hero who can perceive magic but can’t cast spells on his own. He fancies himself a magical Batman as he battles arcane threats using various artifacts and relying on his wits, a healthy amount of bluffing, and loads of caffeine to do his job. Conrad is the Brooklyn representative of the Watch, an organization of magic users whose mission is to protect mundanes (regular people) from monsters and unscrupulous or evil magic users.

This is book 1 of The Conradverse Chronicles, but it is written to work as a standalone, so no commitment to a series is required; you get a complete story.

The Middling Affliction will be hitting bookshelves in April 2022. Watch this space for more announcements!
#SFWAPro

The Watch logo


Eridani’s Crown Ebook Sale!

July 25, 2021

My fantasy novel Eridani’s Crown is on sale starting today (July 25) and through August 1st! Instead of the usual price of $6.99 you can grab it for only $3.99 which is over 40% off. And if you get it on Amazon, you can add the audio book for only $7.49 more, which is a steal!

You can get the discounted book from the following e-tailers:

Direct from UFO Publishing

Amazon

Apple iTunes

Barnes & Noble

Google

Kobo

Please note, the price may not have been reduced yet at some of the smaller sites, but the top 5 above already have it at a discount.

#SFWAPro


New publication: “I’m Feeling Lucky” by Leonid Kaganov at Clarkesworld

July 14, 2021

The latest translation of mine from Russian has been accepted at this wonderful market, which I’ve been trying to crack for a decade. (Clarkesworld was the first magazine I ever submitted a short story to, back in 2010.) Very glad to share this first with Leonid Kaganov, a brilliant and popular writer from St. Petersburg for whom this is his first English language publication!

Read the story here.

#SFWAPro


Future SF Issue 11

June 12, 2021

The latest issue of Future SF releases on June 15. Stories will be posted gradually onto the web here and available for immediate purchase from all major web platforms. The issue is going out to subscribers this weekend.

Contents:

“Knights of the Phantom Realm” by Wanxiang Fengnian (China) translated by Nathan Faries
“The Jellyfish” by K.A. Teryna (Russia) translated by Alex Shvartsman
“Artificial Zen at the End of the World” by Gunnar De Winter (Belgium)
“Unredacted Reports from 1546” by Leah Cypess (USA)
“Follow” by T. R. Siebert (Germany)

Cover art by Luca Oleastri (Italy)
Cover layout by Jay O’Connell (USA)
Interior art by K.A. Teryna (Russia)
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