Coffee in End Times at the Nature Podcast

March 14, 2014

CoffeeInEndTimes

On the heels of the news of “Coffee in End Times” getting picked up by the Toasted Cake Podcast, Alvaro and I were very excited to learn that the story was also selected to be produced to be run on the Nature Podcast. They only select one story from several published in the magazine each month, so it’s quite an honor. What’s more, the story was read by Nature Future’s own editor Colin Sullivan, and he did an awesome job at it.

It will be really fun to compare how Tina Connolly produces the story. The voice actor adds a lot of their own touches to the story when they read it, and so her version will undoubtedly be different from Colin’s. And I, for one, am geeking out at the opportunity to hear both.

Listen to the Nature Podcast of “Coffee in End Times” here.
#SFWAPro

 


Three podcast sales!

March 11, 2014

evp

This has been a good week for my podcast sales.

I signed a contract for a brand-new dark fantasy/horror flash story “The Lekar’s Fortune” to appear at the new pro-paying podcast, Electronic Voice Phenomenon.

Two more stories (both previously published in the journal of Nature) have been accepted by Tina Connolly to run on her Parsec-award winning podcast, Toasted Cake.

The first is “The Tell-Tale Ear” — a humorous near-future take on the Edgar Allan Poe classic.

The second is “Coffee in End Times,” a darker tale co-written by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro and I.

“Coffee” sold to Nature on its first outing, and was picked up by Tina at Toasted Cake on its third-ever submission. Clearly, Alvaro and I are doing something right, and should collaborate more!

#SFWAPro

 

CoffeeInEndTimes

 

 


New Publication: Coffee in End Times

February 19, 2014

CoffeeInEndTimes

#SFWAPro

Coffee in End Times appears in this week’s issue of Nature. It’s a collaboration between Alvaro Zinos-Amaro and myself.  It also happens to be the first time I’ve ever co-written a story with someone else (but hopefully not the last!)

Collaborating with another author seems to produce unique writing that isn’t quite similar to either individual’s style. It’s even easier to do on such a short piece, where we can literally deconstruct the story line by line and figure out the exact phrasing that would work for both of us. We thought the outcome might be a good fit for Nature’s Futures. We sent the story there first, and were very pleased that it found a home there.

You can read the story online for free, or pick up this week’s issue.

There are also two upcoming publications I would like to mention (I was so busy with the UFO3 Kickstarter that I haven’t posted about them yet.)

Dominoes Falling is a 5700-word story set in the world of the Dark Expanse video game. In this one I employ my usual mix of space opera, politics, and intrigue to tell the tale of planets and people in the first year after the Collapse,  coping with the new realities of life without their Zyxlar overlords. But where have the Zyxlar actually disappeared to? One security operative goes to great lengths to find out.

It will appear in the forthcoming Dark Expanse anthology and they may or may not post it online as well — if they do, I will link to it. Otherwise, you’ll just have to buy the book 🙂 It will be coming out very soon.

The other story isn’t actually by me. It’s a dark fantasy/horror tale by Belorussian author Siarhey Bulyha, which I translated from Russian. “The Ferryman” will appear in an upcoming volume of “Spark: A Creative Anthology.”

 

 

 


New Publication: An Indelible Feast (aka the Kosher Pig story) at Stupefying Stories Showcase

November 15, 2013

I don’t remember exactly how it came about, but one day I got it into my head that I should write a kosher pig story. Challenge accepted! From this silly notion, “An Indelible Feast” was born.

I’m a foodie. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, and I don’t party — but I love a good meal. So it was only natural for me to write a story laden with foodie references.  Ferran Adria is a real chef, by the way. I guess he better open a fancy molecular gastronomy restaurant by 2015, or my story will become dated!

Read the story here:

Stupefying Stories Showcase #10

Some other exciting news to report:

Mike Resnick accepted my cybernetic-assassin-who-can’t-feel-pain story “Doubt” for an upcoming issue of Galaxy’s Edge magazine.

“Coffee in End Times,” a story I co-wrote with Alvaro Zinos-Amaro was accepted at Nature and will run sometime in early 2014.

“The Keepsake Box” was accepted at Daily Science Fiction and will also likely appear in early 2014 (though their schedule varies).

My volume of sales is likely to slow down a lot in the near future, as I concentrate on the novel instead of pumping out more short stories and I will miss it terribly. Because receiving that acceptance in my inbox never gets old!

#SFWApro

 


New Publication: The Rumination On What Isn’t in Nature

September 26, 2013

rumination

I’m thrilled to have what I consider my strongest flash story to date to be published in the journal of Nature this week. You can read the story on the web. You can also listen to it — they were also nice enough to podcast it (read very nicely by Kerri Smith).

I wrote “Rumination” in one hour-long sitting. I woke up very early in the morning, and my son Josh’s health was weighing heavily on me. He was five years old, and began experiencing some stomach problems. We had a strong suspicion that he was becoming gluten-intolerant, and were waiting to see a specialist in a few days.

Mind you, I have a number of friends who live with various degrees of gluten sensitivity. I certainly don’t mean to imply that such a diagnosis would in any way be equivalent to what the characters in this story are going through. However, it is not something I would wish on any five-year-old, and my dark mood helped produce a much more emotional story than I am normally capable of,

Josh’s stomach problems thankfully proved to be far less severe; he isn’t allergic/sensitive to anything so far, and I hope it remains that way. But the story went on to earn first place in a Codex anonymous flash-fiction contest among fifty-odd competitors, and went on to become my fourth story to be accepted and published at Nature — all with virtually no revision at all from that version written in the early winter morning this January.

Earlier this week I had another flash story — “Worldbuilding” — published at Daily Science Fiction. It was e-mailed to the subscribers and will go up on the web in a few days, and I’ll make another post about it then. Meanwhile, I’ll take this opportunity to remind folks that I am going to be doing a live reading of my humorous fiction at the Enigma Book Store this Saturday, along with two other funny writers: Russ Cochamiro and Aaron Rosenberg.  Details are posted here.

 


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.

 


October 2012 Recap

October 28, 2012

 

Earlier this month I got to attend the Viable Paradise writing workshop on Martha’s Vineyard. It was an amazing experience, and I will write a much more detailed post about it soon — but it was so formulative and overwhelming that I couldn’t bring myself to blog intelligently about it right away.  It is on my (very long) to do list for November.

Although I’ve only written one new story this month, I’ve had a number of very exciting sales and publications in October.

Publications:

“The tell-tale ear” was published by The Journal of Nature. This is a 21st-century retelling of “The tell-tale heart” told entirely through e-mails. I wrote the story for a Shock Totem contest and was thrilled to have it sell to Nature mere days after I submitted it there, by far my fastest pro-level acceptance.  You can read this story here.

Smoke & Mirrors, an outstanding podcast by Dennis R. Miller, produced my 100-word humorous fantasy story Chill, which originally appeared in The Drabbler a year ago.  Dennis was also kind enough to plug Unidentified Funny Objects. Listen to this week’s episode here.

Combined with my Bards & Sages story mentioned in the previous post this has been quite a month for my humor stories. And, to top it off, yet another humor story will appear on ufopub.com — but I will make a separate post about it when it goes live.

Sales:

Stupefying Stories will publish “Number Station” in their November issue, edited by M. David Blake. The story was accepted by Stupefying Stories back in January and has been waiting for the right issue ever since. So technically this isn’t a new sale, but I’m pleased to share this story with the world.

Weird Tales accepted “A Gnomish Gift” for their Fairy Tales themed issue, which is likely to appear around December.

Daily Science Fiction accepted “Things We Leave Behind” — this is my fourth sale to my favorite SF ‘zine, and the first longer Friday story (at 2500 words).

So what’s on tap for November? It’s novel time! Beginning November 1st I will tackle a novel. I’ve been busy outlining and planning and generally thinking about the themes and motifs I would like to feature in the book. Although I expected my first novel to be a Conrad Brent story, I decided to start with something else instead. This will be a space opera tentatively titled “World Burner” and based on the short story “The Dragon Ships of Tycho” which I wrote last year and which was published in the Galactic Creatures anthology in Spring of 2012. I wrote the sequel story to “Dragon Ships” titled “The Sgovari Stratagem” while at Viable Paradise and the world and characters just can’t get out of my head. So I’m going to expand on these two stories and try to produce the first draft of a novel in a few months’ time.

I don’t want to abandon short stories though. I still intend to write at least one new short story per month to meet my Write1Sub1 goals. Speaking of Write1Sub1, the fine folks behind this motivational program are gearing up for its third year and they recruited several new moderators to help usher it along. I’m one of those new moderators. Which means I will be in charge of posting the weekly content on the Write1Sub1 web site for at least one month next summer, among other things. Because, you know, there wasn’t enough on my plate already. But I love the W1S1 initiative and how it helps lazy writers like myself to produce more words and helps the more timid writers among us to kick their stories out the door and into submission queues, so when they asked, it was an easy “yes” for me.

I’m looking forward to November. I will attend Phil Con and send ARCs (Advance Review Copies) of Unidentified Funny Objects to reviewers. And, with any luck, have more exciting story sales to report.

 


September Recap

October 5, 2012

I keep telling myself (and all of you) about how I will be updating this blog more regularly. So far it has been a big fat lie. But then, what do you expect from someone who writes down lies for fun?
Seriously, it has been a crazy couple of months. Putting together an anthology is an infinite amount of work. It cut deep into my writing time, let alone blog time, reading time, and any other -time that doesn’t involve work or family. So here’s a brief recap of what’s been going on in my writerly life in September and early October:
* I’m pleased to announce that Unidentified Funny Objects has been copy-edited and is off to the interior designer. We should have galleys within a few days and an ARC to send out to authors and reviewers in a week or so.

* Monthly humor stories on ufopub.com have been  launched. First up was “The Ogre King and the Piemaker” by Tarl Kudrick. Do yourself a favor and check it out, it’s as funny as anything in the book!

* My flash fiction story “Manna From Heaven” opens the October issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly.  “Manna from Heaven” opens the issue, which is very neat.  You can pick up a copy on Amazon.

 

 

* I sold “The Miracle on Tau Prime” to Daily Science Fiction. It’s a story of the Vatican miracle investigators… in space! There’s no publication date, but I would expect it to appear either really late in 2012 or in early 2013.

* The FISH anthology from Dagan Books which includes my story “Life on the Lake’s Shore” among work from many other fine authors will be coming out this month.

* My story “The Tell-Tale Ear” will be coming out in the October 18 issue of Nature and will be available to read for free online.

* I’ve been invited to submit a story to the “Beyond the Sun” anthology. If accepted, it’d share the table of contents with such juggernauts as Silverberg, Resnick and Kress! Of course, this project needs to be funded first, and it could use all the help it can get. They’re currently on Kickstarter, so do me (and yourself) a favor and pre-order a copy over here.

* I will be attending PhilCon as a guest this year, participating on panels and possibly doing a reading. This convention will take place in Cherry Hill, NJ (15 minute drive from downtown Philadelphia) on the weekend of November 9 through 11. There will be lots of awesome people I know there, and I encourage anyone who can make the trip to attend.

 

 

* Saving the best for last: Tomorrow I’m heading to Viable Paradise. This highly prestigious writing workshop takes place annually on Martha’s Vineyard. It is now in its 16th year. 24 newer writers like myself will learn from instructors Elizabeth Bear, Debra Doyle, Steven Gould, James D. Macdonald, Patrick and Theresa Nielsen-Hayden, Steven Brust and Sherwood Smith. I’m super excited about this workshop and hope it will help me take my writing to the next level (preferably bypassing the tough boss monster at the end of the current level).

I apologize to my non-video game playing readers for that reference. (OK, I’m not really sorry. Deal with it.)

And when I get back, I will be updating the blog more regularly. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

 

 


I’m Still a Writer

August 10, 2012

 

It has been a busy couple of months. In addition to my already hectic schedule balancing work and family obligations I foolishly decided to go and create an anthology. If you read my blog, you’ll notice that that all the recent posts have been about that. Which is no surprise because I spend, on average, 6 hours a day working on UFO.

However,  I’m still a writer first and an editor/publisher second (even if it doesn’t feel that way right now.) I’ve been producing some new stories — not nearly as many as I would have with more free time, but my output hadn’t dropped off completely. I’ve also been making sales. Sales that, in the past, I would have rushed to breathlessly announce on the blog. But lately I’ve been so slammed that I couldn’t even take the time out for a proper victory lap. So let me catch up by turning this post into a marathon of braggage.

The following stories have been accepted for publication in the last month:
The Tell-Tale EarNature Magazine’s Futures Feature

This is a humorous take on Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous tale, adjusted for the twenty first century. The story is told entirely through e-mails. It will be my second story to appear on the pages of Nature this year.

SpidersongThe Drabblecast

This story originally appeared in Daily Science Fiction and can be read here. The Drabblecast will produce a podcast of it.

Hell is Other PeopleFantastic Frontiers, issue 2

This is a tongue-in-cheek story about “Mood Ring” houses that shapeshift according to the inhabitants’ mood. Nothing could possibly go wrong, eh?

The Last IncantationKazka Press

This story features a really cool system of magic which, more than one beta reader suggested, should probably be used in a longer story or even a novel at some point. But this story works really well for me at flash length, and you’ll be able to decide for yourself as it will be published on September 1, as part of Kazka’s “The Last Hurrah” prompt.

 

I should also mention that three of these four tales were originally written for the Shock Totem flash fiction bi-monthly contest. I love participating in this contest alongside the likes of Ken Liu, Damien Grintalis and many other excellent writers.  I never do particularly well in the contest (they like horror over there, and I don’t tend to write dark) but I don’t care — I’m happy to let the contest help me come up with many of my better flash stories.

So there. Victory lap accomplished. And now back to working on the anthology.