Small Fortune and the Perpetual Luck Machine at Galaxy’s Edge

September 1, 2018

The latest issue of Galaxy’s Edge magazine includes my short story “Small Fortune and the Perpetual Luck Machine.” This is the third Magic Pawn Shop story (the fist two were “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma” and “High-Tech Fairies and the Pandora Perplexity.”) It’s the first new Pawn Shop story in years and I hope everyone likes it as much as the first two! I keep meaning to write more in this setting but other projects interfere.

The story will be free to read at Galaxy’s Edge website for the next 60 days. Afterward (or even now, if you like) you can purchase the entire issue for five bucks.






“Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma” play returns to Portland

April 13, 2016

I’ve been keeping busy: UFO5 submissions are in full swing, Funny Fantasy is done and will be released later this month as an e-book and in May as a paperback, and I turned in the manuscript for Humanity 2.0 to the publisher. So I hope you will excuse my silence here on the blog. I should be done with most of my editorial duties for the year in the next couple of months and then I can go back to writing more, and procrastinating on here more as a result.

Meantime, I’m popping in to report that Matt Haynes is producing an evening of short SF/F plays, featuring works based on the short stories of Tina Connolly. Nancy Kress, Jeff Carter, Briak K. Lowe, and my own “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma.”

The performance will take place on April 21 and the details can be found here:

And now, back to the slush mines with me. POOF! *Disappears.*


Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma at Moozvine

December 12, 2015

My award-winning humor fantasy story is now free to read at Moozvine! You can download it in e-book formats, PDF, or just read in the browser. Check out the cool cover they designed for it, too!



Moozvine is an exciting new website that’s a bit of a mix between a free library and a crowdfunding platform. Some stories are released free for everyone to read (donations optional), while others are posted once a predetermined amount of funds has been raised. However, it’s not just the backers who get to enjoy the “funded” stories — once the story funds it is free to read and share for everyone!

Check out their library, featuring stories by Ken Liu, Nancy Kress and many other excellent authors. I should have a bit more news about Moozvine in a couple of weeks.




Audio book of “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories” is live at Audible

February 20, 2015


It took them some extra time to approve the book, but it is now live! I’m tremendously excited about Tina Connolly’s narration, and really hope everyone at least checks out the free sampler.

Click here to buy the audio book

Click here to listen to “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma,” the title story, for free.





Book Birthday!

February 2, 2015

Today is the day! No, I don’t mean Super Bowl (or, as I prefer to think of it, Superb Owl.) Rather, today is the day my short story collection is officially released. Many writers affectionately call it book birthday.



[Buy direct: Paperback | E-book]
[B&N] [Smashwords] [Kobo]

If you already have the book (because you received an advance review copy, got it as a Kickstarter backer, or are a time traveler) you would be doing me a huge favor if you post an honest review on your favorite book-buying web site (and especially Amazon, which uses an algorithm that accounts for the number of reviews each book has in their marketing of the title.)

Over the last week I’ve been working feverishly on typing up interviews, guest blog posts and arranging things like giveaways and podcasts, all meant to launch around the same time as the book releases. So rather than inundate you with each of these individually, here’s the collection of links for all of this various promotional stuff in one neat bow-tied package:

Giveaway at SF Signal: Enter for a chance to win one of two signed paperback copies of the collection.

Giveaway at GoodReads: Another opportunity to win a signed copy of the collection.

Interview at A.C. Wise’s blog

Interview at David Walton’s blog

Interview at Darusha Wehm‘s blog (forthcoming tomorrow)

Listen to Icarus Falls podcasted at Toasted Cake: This is probably my strongest story published last year. If you haven’t read or heard it yet, I strongly encourage you to.

Listen to Requiem for a Druid podcasted at Far-Fetched Fables (forthcoming later this week)

The Art and Science of Anthology Editing – a long, detailed guest post at Locus Online. If you are interested in editing an anthology, or just want to know how the sausage is made, you might find this interesting.

There’s more to come in the next few days, including the release of the audio book!


January 22, 2015


The first of the Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories physical copies have began reaching readers this week, and it’s a surreal feeling. I’m beyond excited for the February 1 official release. I’m lining up lots of different promotional things for the book: blog posts, interviews, giveaways, convention appearances and such. But ultimately, I’m just one guy. That’s why my friends’ help on social media has been so huge!

The official release date for the book is February 1st, and I’m trying to organize a Thunderclap to set off on that Sunday morning. What is Thunderclap and how it works, you ask?

Thunderclap is a web app that will synchronize and simultaneously post a message on the willing users’ Twitter, Facebook, and/or Tumblr feeds. It’s free to use and takes less than 10 seconds to join, but there is a catch: like Kickstarter, it won’t fire off unless a minimum amount of people join in. That minimum is 100. So if you don’t mind posting a message about my book’s release on any of those three social media feeds, would you please click below and join in?

Also, the early reviews for the collection are in, and they’re very positive! So far it has been reviewed by:

Tangent Online

Albedo 1

Fantastica Ficcion (Note: this last one is in Spanish.)

I’m looking forward to more reviews soon, hopefully.




Read “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma” for free at IGMS

September 9, 2014
Artwork by Andres Mossa

Artwork by Andres Mossa

What the title says. Edmund Schubert and his team very kindly set the story to a free read, as a way to celebrate its WSFA Small Press Award nomination. You can read it here.

This is also a good time to remind people that the sequel to this story, High-Tech Fairies and the Pandora Perplexity was also published at IGMS, early this year.  Both stories will be included in my short story collection next year. But you can also subscribe to IGMS and read it now.



Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories

July 28, 2014

I’m very excited to announce my upcoming short story collection, “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories,” forthcoming in February 2015 in trade paperback and e-book formats. Here’s your first look at the cover, with art by Dixon Leavitt and graphic design by Emerson Matsuuchi. We may still tinker with some of the typesetting, but it’s very near-final.

Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories by Alex Shvartsman

Ken Liu has graciously agreed to write the introduction to this book, and some other great people are on board to help out (but I don’t want to spoil all the cool stuff at once!)

The physical book will contain approximately 40 short stories (including at least one previously unpublished story unique to this collection). The e-book, in addition to these stories, will include nearly 20 more, offering my complete body of published work from when I began writing fiction in 2010 and until recently (part of the reason for the February release date is to wait for the exclusive rights to expire on as many stories as possible, so they can be included). Each story is going to include author notes — commentary tidbits and (hopefully) interesting anecdotes that relate to the stories. I’ve had so many stories published, reprinted, translated, etc. — but this will be the first time they’re collected together!

To that end, I’m also launching a Kickstarter campaign to help defray the costs of copy editing, original illustrations, and–if we venture into stretch goals territory–some other very cool stuff such as an audiobook version and additional original stories.

If you would like to get a copy of this collection, it would be of significant help to me if you were to pre-order it via Kickstarter rather than waiting until it’s released in February. The more funds I’m able to raise, the better I can make this book.  There are lots of other cool rewards for the backers, too. Notably, every pledge (even if you only pledge a dollar) will receive a FREE e-book 0f Dark Expanse: Surviving the Collapse, a space opera anthology I co-edited with Bill Snee for Deorc Enterprises.

Dark Expanse cover

Even if you can’t pledge  now, please check out the campaign anyhow. There is a video of me in my natural habitat (aka living room), links to some free fiction, and lots of corny jokes. I would also greatly appreciate a signal boost — let your friends (and enemies) know about this book. That way, they can back it, and you can borrow their copy!

I’ve put in what feels like infinite hours editing anthologies of other authors’ work, and while I love doing that, unleashing an entire book of my own fiction onto the world is a really big deal to me. I hope people like it.