An Overflowing Basket of Awesome

September 8, 2014

I’ve been so busy lately with getting the UFO3 print files ready, working on the short story collection, posting Kickstarter updates and other various things, I’ve been neglecting the blog. Again. Sorry about that. I know (or at least totally assume) that you missed me.

So, here is the run-down of extremely cool things that have been happening lately.

* The Kickstarter campaign for “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories” has funded, raising over 250% of the initial goal! There will be an e-book, an audio book, a paperback and a hardcover published in February, and a separate novella-length book released in August of 2015. Watch this space!

* My urban fantasy noir story “The Fiddle Game” has been accepted at InterGalactic Medicine Show and will appear really soon–in fact, later this month!

* Daily Science Fiction picked up two of my flash stories: “Letting Go” and “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” They also recently published their September table of contents, and one of my strongest-ever stories, “Icarus Falls” will appear later this month. I’ll be sure to post a link!

* I received permission from the Russian author Tatiana Ivanova to translate into English her hilarious novelette “Impress Me, Then We’ll Talk About the Money.” I’m almost done with the translation and hope to help it find a great home in the coming months.

* Speaking of translations, I managed to knock off two items off my writer bucket list simultaneously–my first commissioned story and my first Chinese translation. The difference between a solicited story and a commissioned story is that, with the latter, you get paid  when you turn in your work. A solicited story might still get rejected if the editor doesn’t like it. So, naturally, commissions are rare as they indicate a significant level of faith on the part of the editor. In this case, it’s for a super-cool contest in China. My story will be translated and published in Chinese first — the English version can be published sometime next year. I’ll write a separate blog post about this later this year because the contest it’s for is anonymous and I don’t want to give away any details about my entry.

* And as far as solicited stories go, I was invited to submit to a near-future space exploration anthology edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and published by Baen books. This morning Bryan announced the final TOC and my story “The Race for Arcadia” (about the rekindled space race between the US, Russia, and India, told from the perspective of the Russians) will appear in it alongside an all-star cast that includes such awesome writers as Mike Resnick, Bob Silverberg, Ben Bova, Jack McDevitt, and James Gunn, among others.

* On a regular day, making it into what might be the highest-profile TOC anthology of my career to date, would be the best writing-related news of the day. But not today. Today I got home from an extra-tough day at work to find a message of congratulations in my Twitter feed. Apparently, I’ve been nominated for the WSFA Small Press Award!

WSFA

WSFA is the Washington Science Fiction Association, the fine folks who run Capclave. My story “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma” has firmly cemented its place as my most successful piece of writing thus far, by becoming one of eight short stories nominated for the award this year! Here’s the press release.

There’s some incredibly tough competition, but I’m super thrilled to be considered. This story was the finalist in the IGMS 2013 Reader Poll, and it was on Tangent Online’s 2013 Recommended Reading list, but this is the first time I’ve ever been nominated for an actual, honest-to-God writing award.  And I must say, I like it very much.

So that’s my basket of awesome. I promise to update the blog more often this month. Until then, if you need me, I will be floating somewhere in the vicinity of Cloud Nine.

#SFWAPro

 

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New publication: “The Golem of Deneb Seven” in InterGalactic Medicine Show

July 29, 2014

the-golem-of-deneb-seven

The Golem of Deneb Seven” takes place lightyears away, but at its heart is a story of family, and of civilians caught in the middle of the war they want no part of. It is especially topical now, given what’s going on in the Ukraine (even though it was written before the conflict there began). The story is now out as part of IGMS’s issue 40, and is its lead story, which means it got the full color cover treatment. I love, love, love the illustration M. Wayne Miller created for it!

Also, there’s the Kickstarter campaign for “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories.” It’s been almost exactly 24 hours since the campaign launched, and it’s nearly 75% funded! That’s amazing, and I’m very grateful to everyone who pledged and helped spread the word so far. I already have some lofty stretch goals in mind that will hopefully appeal to everyone, so please keep sharing and talking about this project!

#SFWAPro

 

 


The May 2014 Update

May 30, 2014

sparkV

I’m not updating the blog nearly often enough. Sorry about that. Life has been crazy, demands of work, family, and various writing-related endeavors pulling me in every direction. The good news hasn’t stopped though, and here are the highlights of what has occurred since the last update:

* “Icarus Falls,” a 2200-word SF story  has been accepted at Daily Science Fiction and will run sometime in 2014

* “The Perfect Book,” a 1000-word humor flash piece has been accepted at Fantasy Scroll (it was the story wherein I tuckerized a backer of their Kickstarter project) and will run in issue 3.

* Spark V is out, and it includes my translation of “The Ferryman” by Siarhei Bulyha. This is dark-fantasy/horror from a uniquely Eastern European perspective, and very different from what I myself might write. If you want to broaden your reading horizons, check this story out!

* “Burying Treasure,” a 3000-word humorous fantasy story has been accepted by Esther Friesner for the next installment of her iconic “Chicks in Chainmail” anthology series of humorous fantasy featuring female protagonists. In armor.  The book will be published by Baen in 2015.

* “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma” was the finalist in the 2013 IGMS Reader Poll! I’m very excited by this, of course.

* And speaking of IGMS, they also accepted “The Golem of Deneb Seven,” a 5200-word story about the Orthodox Jewish settlers caught in the middle of a war on another planet. I like to refer to it as my Isaac Babel in Space story. “Golem” is going to be the lead story in the July 2014 issue (yay color art/cover!)

* “The Rumination on What Isn’t” will be podcast at Drabblecast in late 2014.

* “The Keepsake Box” will be reprinted in the Pandora-themed issue of Timeless Tales.

* “One in a Million,” a humorous 2000-word SF story, has been accepted by On Spec.  No publication date yet — I heard they can take a little while, but it’s nice to make a sale to a new (to me) venue.

So, yeah. It’s been a good month. The tide of story sales is bound to subside a lot in the very near future, as I am running out of short stories (have been working on the novel instead of writing more). But I’m enjoying it immensely while it lasts!

#SFWAPro


Pandora’s Boxes

January 26, 2014

hightechfairies

This past Wednesday I had two very different stories about Pandora’s boxes published in two SFWA venues. They were written at different times, submitted at different times, accepted at different times… But both were published within hours of each other. What are the odds?!

First up is the “High-Tech Fairies and the Pandora Perplexity,” a humorous Magic Pawn Shop fantasy story that features the same set of characters as “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma.” This story was published in issue 37 of InterGalactic Medicine Show.  You have to subscribe the magazine to read the full story, but you can check out the opening scene and beautiful illustration by Andres Mossa.  Here’s a little sample, to whet your appetite:

“Never cared much for those,” said Grandma. “The things people try to put inside! In 1935, a fellow named Schrödinger shoved his cat into a Pandora’s box to prove some sort of a point. PETA activists from the 23rd century keep traveling back in time to egg his house, ever since. Using artificial eggs, of course.”

The other one is “The Keepsake Box” a flash fantasy story published at Daily Science Ficiton.  DSF e-mails their stories to subscribers (it’s free to subscribe!) a week before they’re posted on the web site, so those of you who do not already subscribe will be able to read it for free in a few days (I’ll post the link). For now, here’s a teaser:

She dumps the contents of the keepsake box onto the table and begins to chant as she picks up the items one by one, drains them of their power, and weaves the resulting strands of enchantment into her spell.
From the twig of the tree under which she met him, she drains excitement. It’s light and full of possibilities, like beats of a fluttering heart

This is not a humorous story. It’s dark and brooding, and kind of different from what I usually tend to write. I hope you enjoy it!

On the acceptances front, I just sold a suspense story (that’s right — not science fiction, not fantasy!) to Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine.

I was also invited to submit a story to a New Zealand-based steampunk anthology Angels & Automatons. They just launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the book.

And, of course, I would be remiss not to mention the ongoing Kickstarter for UFO3. We have over 100 backers and raised a third of our goal already, but there’s still a long way to go, and I’d appreciate any and all help, in both pledges and sharing the details of this campaign.

#SFWAPro

 

 


Non-fiction Wednesday

May 22, 2013
Artwork by Andres Mossa

Artwork by Andres Mossa

I have two small non-fiction write-ups out at some highly prestigious places today.

First up are the story notes for Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma which I wrote for the IGMS blog.

And second is another SF Signal Mind Meld where a plethora of science fiction authors are asked their opinion about the literary appeal of gods, goddesses, and myths.

 

 


Two Funny Stories Published in April

April 26, 2013
Artwork by Andres Mossa

Artwork by Andres Mossa

 

I’ve been so busy with UFO2 Kickstarter and submissions that I’ve neglected to announce several of my recent publications (which I will gleefully catch up on in this post!)

Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma at Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show

This is easily the funniest story I’ve had published to date. One day I was loitering on Twitter and saw friend and fellow writer Sylvia Spruck Wrigley complain about the difficulty she was having explaining Cthulhu to grandma.

“That would make a great story title,” I told her. She agreed, and said that she would try to come up with something that fit.

A few weeks passed and the title stuck with me, so I followed up with Sylvia to see if she had made any progress. She said that she hadn’t and I asked if I could use the title myself. She said yes, and I wrote the story within a couple of days — which is super fast, for me. I named the protagonist Sylvia and named her character’s grandmother and gran-grandmother after Sylvia’s own mom and grandma.

This story is about a magic pawn shop. Somebody trades in Cthulhu on pawn (it’s stored in a handy pocket dimension which looks like a snow globe) and all sorts of wackiness ensues. I have since written a sequel where a Pandora’s box finds its way into the magic pawn shop, and plan on writing more stories in this setting.

IGMS is a great home for this story. They published it today in issue #33, and while you have to subscribe to read the entire story, you can read an excerpt and see the awesome original artwork by Andres Mossa in full size by clicking this link.

The Epistolary History at The Journal of Nature

theepistolaryhistory

This is a flash fiction story about a hapless time traveler I wrote in February. In honor of the letter-writing month it’s told entirely through letters. Since this one is available online for free, I will direct you to read it rather than telling you too much more about it.

Amusingly I received e-mail acceptances for these two stories within a *minute* of each other, making that pretty much the best minute of my writing career, ever. It’s fitting that they were published within 24 hours of each other, too.

The Field Trip at Cast of Wonders

The Field Trip is now my most cosmopolitan story yet. It was originally printed in the In Situ anthology from Dagan Books. It has been translated into Polish and was accepted to be translated and published in Romanian. And now it’s been podcast by a UK audio magazine. You can listen to it here. This is the first time this story is available online for free.

Putting it All Together at Toasted Cake

This story is the only one of the four that isn’t humorous. Instead, it’s very lyrical — which is well outside of my normal writing comfort zone. And Tina Connolly was the perfect performer to read it! The story was originally published at Nine Magazine, which is sadly defunct. It’s not currently available anywhere online in print form,  but you can listen and enjoy the podcast.

And that’s my recap for April. Next month I have stories coming out in Daily Science Fiction, One Sentence Stories anthology, and Buzzy Magazine. Stay tuned!

 

 


My LunaCon schedule plus a great week of sales

March 15, 2013

LunaCon2013

I will be attending LunaCon this Saturday and Sunday. Below is my schedule one panels (plus a reading!)

SATURDAY:

10am – Humor in SF (1 hour panel) – Poplar

What are the most effective humorous SF books? Are any both funny and groundbreaking, or does humor rely on sending up established tropes? What both funny and sad? Funny and plausible? How much of SF humor depends on surprise, and how much stands up to rereading? Do SF and fantasy humor work the same way, or are there fundamental differences?

Other panelists: Elektra Hammond (moderator), Patrick Thomas, Russ Colchamiro, Theodore Krulik

1pm – How To Get Your Story Rejected (1 hour panel) – Maple

Sometimes a story is rejected simply because it doesn’t fit the needs of the editor. But sometimes there is something more. Our panel of editors will discuss what they look for and what they don’t want to see.

Other panelists: Ben Parris (moderator), Neil Clarke, Hildy Silverman, Ian Randal Strock

6pm – Finding The Right Critic (1 hour panel) – William Odelle

Choose your first draft’s enemy’s wisely. Whether a class, a writer’s group, beta reader, or editor for hire, who you show your unfinished work to can make a big difference to the finished product. How to find critiquers who get what you’re going for, and will make useful suggestions in a style you can handle — and when to stop to revising and submit.

Other panelists: April Grey, Russ Colchamiro, Myke Cole, D.L. Carter

9pm – Reading (30 minutes) – Bartell

I will read one (or more) of my stories. Out loud.

 

SUNDAY

11am – None of the Above (1 hour panel) – Westchester Ballroom B

In the ongoing debate about self-publishing versus traditional publishing, crowdsourcing is an emerging third option. What are the pros and cons of each approach, and does crowdsourcing work for debut authors, or does it require a platform of readers from one of the other routes first?

Other panelists: Ben Parris (moderator), Mark Abbott, Elektra Hammond, Patricia McCracken

12pm – Hugo Worthy Fiction (1 hour panel) – Birch

What was on YOUR Hugo nomination ballot? What do you think will make the final ballot and what would YOU vote for?

Other panelists: Lisa Padol (moderator), Byron P. Connell, Lawrence M. Schoen

If you would like to hear me speak on any of these subjects, or just want to say hello, come find me at LunaCon! And I would especially like everyone to attend the 9pm reading. Pretty please?

I also have many awesome sales to brag about this week. Four, to be exact. In chronological order:

“True Love,” a SF flash story to Daily Science Fiction

“Putting it All Together,” a SF flash story to Toasted Cake Podcast (reprint; originally appeared in Nine magazine issue 1)

“Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma,” a humor fantasy story to Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show

“The Epistolary History,” a humor SF flash story to Nature’s Futures

That’s 3 pro markets and a Parsec Award-winning podcast in one week. If I wasn’t qualified for SFWA membership, I would have qualified with this week’s sales alone. So please excuse me while I run some victory laps.