New Publication: In the Wake of the Storm

October 22, 2013

This October is flying by faster than any month has a right to.  I’ve been incredibly swamped with a variety of projects, but wanted to pop in and post a quick update.

New Publications:

“In the Wake of the Storm” is live today at BuzzyMag.com

This is a modern fantasy story about the aftermath of super-storm Sandy in NYC.  The opening scene was inspired by my own experience helping my stepfather deal with the flood damage while trying to get around in the borough deprived of electricity and gasoline.  This is the actual photo I took inside of his house:

Water surge flooded most basements or even ground floors in Rockaway. The high-water line in this photo is at nearly six feet.

Water surge flooded most basements or even ground floors in Rockaway. The high-water line in this photo is at nearly six feet.

I loved playing with the voice and tone of this story, but the best part was that publishers at Buzzy were kind enough to schedule it to go live just before the one year anniversary of Sandy! I hope it will be well-received.

#SFWApro“A Man in an Angel Costume” is live at Horror d’oeuvres.

This one is behind a pay wall but may be well worth for horror fans, as they provide lots of content including a weekly flash story. I read a handful and enjoyed most of them, even though I am not typically a horror reader.

“A Man in an Angel Costume” is one of my oldest stories that haven’t sold previously. But I never gave up on it — I love the prose poetry opening that transitions into a more traditional narrative as the story develops. Some editors really hated this format while for others it came very close, but I never gave up and kept submitting it, until the story found a right home.

New Sales

If I had to choose one signature story to represent my writing, I would definitely go with “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma,” a humor fantasy piece about a magic pawn shop which was published at InterGalactic Medicine Show earlier this year. I’m extraordinarily pleased that IGMS also picked up its sequel, “High-Tech Fairies and the Pandora Perplexity.” It will appear in an upcoming issue, though I don’t have the exact time frame yet.

There are also a handful of reprint sales (two instances of markets taking three reprint stories each!) One is a printed magazine and another a mobile platform. I will be able to talk more about both sometime in the near future, but I’m glad to find more ways to share my stories with readers.

Conventions

I had a wonderful time at CapClave and hope to return next year. My next convention will be PhilCon in November and I will post my panel schedule once I have it.

Unidentified Funny Objects 2

The book launched on October 7 and the sales are solid. In fact, we’ve sold more copies of UFO2 so far than we did copies of UFO1 in its first month! So definitely moving in the right direction.

Coffee

I’m woefully behind on this project, but the good news is that the stories have been copy-edited and should go out to book designers for e-book and physical layout later this week. It’ll be really tough to meet the November goal, but I still expect to have them out to all Kickstarter backers before Christmas.

Dark Expanse

This project is chugging along on schedule, and the anthology should release in the first quarter of 2014.

Unidentified Funny Objects 3

I am already laying some groundwork for the third volume of the series, such as inviting headliners, lining up a cover artist, etc. So far I have two stories in already from two Big Name authors. But I won’t tell you more until I’m ready to make an official announcement, because I am mean and I like to tease people.

 

And that’s all the updates I have for now. Back to the pixel mines for me!


Triumph Over Tragedy

December 8, 2012

I rarely talk about my personal life or things not directly related to writing fiction on this blog, but this is a special case. Like so many others in New York/New Jersey area, my family and I were affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Our house is roughly fifteen minutes away (by foot) from the water (Sheepshead Bay) and twenty minutes away from the Atlantic Ocean. We are in “Zone B” (which means just far enough away where we didn’t have to evacuate). Compared to many of our friends we were very fortunate. Our car did not flood and a huge tree branch which came down within inches of my father-in-law’s car didn’t damage our property. We didn’t even lose power or Internet service. However, sometime after nine o’clock at night, water began to pump upward from the shower drain in the basement. It was coming up fast until the entire basement was flooded with nearly a foot of water. This was sea water which overwhelmed the city’s sewer system and was finding its way into many of the homes in our area.

A beach block in Rockaway. Sandy dragged so much mud and sand onto the street that it had to be cleared by plows.

A beach block in Rockaway. Sandy dragged so much mud and sand onto the street that it had to be cleared by plows.

I remember chatting with friends online about what was happening, helpless to do much of anything to prevent it. Water ceased rising around eleven and we went to sleep expecting to deal with a lot of misery in the morning. Fortunately, we woke up to find that the water receded almost completely on its own, leaving behind wet floors and destroying a refrigerator.  We had to do some minor cleanup, but all in all we got off easy.

My stepfather was no so fortunate. His house is in Rockaway, Queens, half a block away from the beach. Water devastated his entire block, devastating the lower level of his home and destroying all the possessions there. He later found out that, although he was one of very few New Yorkers with flood insurance, that covers only the structural damage and the boiler, not any of the possessions. Everything he had in the basement had to be thrown out, carpets stripped, and Sheetrock walls demolished, then treated for mold. The entire area had no power for weeks. My mother-in-laws house was also damaged, forcing her to spend a lot of time and money renovating its first floor.

Water surge flooded most basements or even ground floors in Rockaway. The high-water line in this photo is at nearly six feet.

Water surge flooded most basements or even ground floors in Rockaway. The high-water line in this photo is at nearly six feet.

And despite all that, my family is still among the fortunate ones. We had the support structure, the money, and other resources to overcome this calamity. We did not go hungry or cold. Our own businesses and companies that employ us weren’t forced to close down permanently because of storm damage. But there are tens of thousands of people in New York and New Jersey who weren’t so fortunate. They need all the help they can get. And if you think that the devastation of Sandy is well behind us at this point, you’re wrong.

Chase Bank branch in Sheepshead Bay, still closed six weeks after Sandy.

Chase Bank branch in Sheepshead Bay, still closed six weeks after Sandy.

I was in the area of the Sheepshead Bay train station earlier today. Many of the businesses (both small local ones and chain outlets like 7/11, Chase and Citibank) are still closed. There are traffic lights in my area that are still down — and we aren’t even in one of the neighborhoods worst-affected by this storm.

There are lots of worthy charities and ways to help. I recently discovered a charity anthology that is raising funds via IndieGoGo, with 100% of the proceeds going to the American Red Cross. For only $7, you can help the victims of Hurricane Sandy and receive a short story collection with works by such notables as Robert Silverberg, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Timothy Zahn, Elizabeth Bear, and many others.

I donated to the cause as well as contributed a reprint short story, “The Last Incantation,” which can be currently read at Kazka Press web site. Although Kazka’s period of exclusivity on this story hasn’t expired yet, they generously allowed me to submit the story to the anthology once they learned about the cause.

“Triumph Over Tragedy” is a brainchild of speculative writer R.T. Kaelin who is investing a ton of his own time in order to put together, edit, and promote this project.  You could thank him by heading over to his web site and ordering one or more of his books.

If you can spare $7 (or more) this holiday season, please order a copy of “Triumph Over Tragedy” here, and be sure to spread the word about this project.

TriumphOverTragedy