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!



Cthulhu and I

August 27, 2013


This little bundle of tentacled evil arrived in the mail from Sylvia Spruck Wrigley and totally made my day.

Sylvia was both an inspiration and the namesake for the main character of “Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma” (and its sequel, which is patiently awaiting its chance at an editor’s desk right now). And now I have a visual aid to help explain Cthulhu to grandmas everywhere and, more importantly, to oversee any and all future live readings, of which several will be coming up before the end of this year. The plush Cthulhu (Pthulhu?) will grace mortals with its presence at WorldCon this weekend.

In a few short days I’ll be attending my very first WorldCon in San Antonio, and I’m absolutely stoked. I look forward to meeting many online friends face to face, as well as some of the authors I grew up reading, who are partially responsible for my love of the genre. I didn’t get to be on any panels at this con — after all, they’ve got nearly the entire SF/F community to pick from — so I’ll be roaming and trying to take it all in. I am co-running one of the Writer Workshops and have several meetings set up, but this trip is definitely more about experiencing as much of what WorldCon has to offer as possible.

And although I have few responsibilities at this convention, I do have one duty to discharge which is beyond awesome. My friend Ken Liu, who is nominated for a Hugo award in the Short Story category this year but is unable to attend himself, has named me as his designated acceptor at the Hugo ceremony. This means that, if Ken wins, I will go up on stage and accept the award on his behalf. I’m both incredibly honored and stoked to do this.  Regardless of the outcome, I’ll get to sit at the front during the ceremony, attend the afterparty, and hold a Hugo (at least during the practice run on Sunday afternoon).

My wife and I even went out and bought a new suit for me to wear to the event. It’s Hugo Boss.  No other brand would do. Although I’m sure no one else will notice, wearing a Hugo Boss suit to the Hugos was way too amusing for me to pass up.

In other news, I have several sales to report. Buzzy Magazine accepted “In the Wake of the Storm” — my urban fantasy story which takes place in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Cast of Wonders will podcast both You Bet and Nuclear Family. You Bet should come out in October while Nuclear Family is scheduled around Christmas.

And, just today, Stupefying Stories Showcase published The Storyteller — a flash fantasy story.

If you are going to WorldCon, please find me and say hi! You will get to meet Pthulhu, and — if you run into me on Sunday — you will get to see me wearing a suit, which — I assure you — is an even more exceptional occurrence than running into an Elder God.






July 26, 2013


Earlier this week I sold two more stories. Stupefying Stories picked up “An Indelible Feast” and “The Storyteller.” And while every new sale is sweet, what makes these special is that they are my 50th and 51st original short stories accepted for publication.

I made my first short story submission on May 10, 2010.  I submitted “The Skeptic,” my first story, which I wrote the month prior, to Clarkesworld, from which it was promptly and politely rejected.

It has been 41 months since I began writing that first short story. This means I’ve averaged more than one original short story sale per month over the course of my writing career so far! And that’s not even counting reprints, podcasts, and translations.

I am incredibly thrilled to be so far along the writing career path after just a few short years. There are plenty more milestones for me to conquer, and I’ll be gleefully working on those in the coming months!


The Birthday Post

November 19, 2012

I turned 37 today. Alert the media. Or don’t. But, editors, please hold those rejection slips until tomorrow, k?

Over the last couple of weeks, I got to attend PhilCon, which was an awesome convention. Although it was a bit smaller than I expected (probably around 1000 people) I had a great time, catching up with old friends  and meeting lots and lots of new ones. I got to participate in discussion panels with the likes of Gardner Dozois, Neil Clarke, and Gordon Linzner and (mostly) held my own!  I’m already contemplating more conventions to attend in 2013!

This photo was blatantly stolen from Michael Haynes’ blog, where he talked about his own PhilCon experience and posted several more photos. And since we roomed together and hung out together for most of the con, I’m in several of those.

Another bit of good news I received literally the day before PhilCon was that Buzzy Magazine accepted “The Tinker Bell Problem.”  It’s a story of a demon who summons a human via a pentagram, expecting the human to use its awesome powers in order to solve all of the demon’s problems! It’s also my second sale to Buzzy and I’m excited that this story will be appearing there sometime in 2013.

I also have an interview up today at the Fantasy Scroll blog by Iulian Ionescu where I talk some about the challenges of being a writer for whom English isn’t a native language, publishing an anthology, and South Park.

Finally, I’m pleased to announce that Stupefying Stories issue 2.1, guest edited by David M. Blake, is hitting the virtual newsstands this week. David put a tremendous amount of work into collecting this issue and interweaving some ideas and concepts throughout multiple stories. It is also about twice as “thick” as a typical issue, and features some truly excellent authors, so you’d do well to check it out when it goes on sale!



Finally, I’m pleased to announce that Unidentified Funny Objects ARC (Advance Review Copy) is here and has been sent out to various reviewers as of yesterday. If you review books and would like a copy and the press release, please contact me. And if you don’t review books but would like a copy, you can help support UFO by pre-ordering one directly at


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.


“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 — but I will make a separate post about it when it goes live.


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.


Guest Post: “Dreams, Horses and the Little Story That Could” by Beth Cato

April 23, 2012

Today I’m pleased to feature a guest blog post by Beth Cato, the author of “Red Dust and Dancing Horses,” a SF tale  featured in the current issue of Stupefying Stories. Beth writes about perseverance and not giving up on the stories you believe in, and I wholeheartedly agree.


Dreams, Horses, and the Little Story That Could

By Beth Cato



There’s something I’ve learned during the past few years. If you want to succeed as a writer, it’s not all about talent. It’s not about developing a thick skin. Rejections make you cry? Scream? Those are valid reactions sometimes. But what enables you to succeed is sheer stubbornness. You send the story out again.

Case in point: my story “Red Dust and Dancing Horses.”

From the time I wrote the rough draft, I knew this story was special. It hit me on a personal level. The tale is a horse story set on Mars, where horses can’t exist. It’s about a young Martian girl who has to accept that her deepest desire–to know horses–will likely never come true.

I was completely horse obsessed from the time I could walk and talk. I adored Rainbow Brite from age 3, but my biggest love was her horse, Starlite. I collected Breyer horses from age 4 (I wasn’t into My Little Ponies as much because they weren’t realistic enough). I read every horse book in the children’s section of the library, and if a new book came in the librarians told me. I knew the difference between a Shire and a Paso Fino, a forelock and a fetlock. My parents owned two acres of property, and I knew exactly where we could build a stable and corral. I took riding lessons. I knew exactly what my dream horse would look like and how his mane swayed in the breeze.

And at age 11, I finally had to accept that I would never have a horse.

I was mature enough to realize we were too poor. Money was tight. My riding lessons stopped as we couldn’t even afford the $10 for my riding lessons every two weeks. How could we afford a horse, or hay, or tack?

The dream died, but my love for horses didn’t.

That was the emotion I put into the story, only using a grittier Martian backdrop instead of a central Californian one. I posted the story on OWW. I revised heavily. I started sending it out to magazines. And this story I loved passionately was soundly rejected by almost every pro science fiction market.

Really, I could see why. It’s a horse story, on Mars. People don’t usually pair horses and sci fi, much less horses from old westerns. But it still hurt. This was a story that I felt was not only one of the best things I had written, but it was also a story I loved.

But I loved it so much, I kept gritting my teeth and sending it out again. It had some close calls. It won an honorable mention in Writers of the Future for the 4th quarter of 2011. But it still didn’t have a home, so I sent it out yet again.

You know what? It has a home now, an amazing one. This is what the editor of Stupefying Stories, Bruce Bethke, said in the forward for this March issue:

I’m about out of space now, but would be remiss if I did not call special attention… especially to my personal favorite in this entire collection, “Red Dust and Dancing Horses” by Beth Cato. If this story doesn’t wind up on several Best of 2012 lists and on the short list for at least one major award, I will be disappointed.

While querying agents, the big mantra is, ‘It only takes one yes.’ That’s true for short stories, too. “Red Dust and Dancing Horses” finally found its YES, and whatever happens from here, I’m happy, because the story finally found some other folks who love it just as much as I do.

The dream lives on.

“Red Dust and Dancing Horses” can be found in Stupefying Stories 1.5, on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.



Publication: A Brief Respite from Eternity at Stupefying Stories 1.5 (March 2012 issue)

April 14, 2012


The latest issue of Stupefying Stories went live today. It includes my SF flash “A Brief Respite from Eternity.” This is a story of tragic love, post-physical existence and the heat death of the universe. How’s that for under 1000 words?

Lots of other great stuff in this issue as well. It’s well worth the $2 price tag. Please support an excellent fledgling publicaiton. Pick up a copy on Amazon or see the official blog for links to other e-book options.

Two New Sales and a Reprint

January 16, 2012


A few months ago I found out about a new Kindle magazine called Stupefying Stories. It was launched and edited by Mr. Bruce Bethke, the man who coined the term “cyberpunk” back in the day, and has been an influential voice in the science fiction field. Naturally, I wanted to have a story of mine appear in this shiny new ‘zine.

I sent out a piece, and got a “close, but no cigar” rejection. Mr. Bethke did encourage me to send in more stuff, and to send more than one story. I obliged, sending two pieces of flash fiction.

“A Brief Respite from Eternity” is a love story set  in the final stages of the heat death of the universe. “Number Station” is a horror/dark fantasy piece which takes place in modern Russia. They’re two very different stories, in tone, subject and voice. I figured my best bet was to offer a range and hope that Mr. Bethke and other editors would like one or the other.

I was overjoyed to find out, late last night, that they liked and accepted both! I don’t have the publication details yet, but from what I gleaned from the e-mails it sounds like “Brief Respite” will appear first, with “Number Station” to be published sometime in the future.

Yesterday also marked the reappearance of the first story I ever wrote, “The Skeptic,” on the Internet. Its original publisher shut their virtual doors last year and took the site down. Bent Masses stepped in and accepted “The Skeptic” as a reprint. It has been published in their January issue and can be read here.