Spawn of Mars
Story vignettes are all well and good, but the best story is not a day in the life; the best story is the day between lives.
"And Who Shall I Say Is Calling?"
A Collaboration Between Me and Misha Burnett
Tuesday, November 8, 2022 9:28 am
Those few of you who actually read this blog know that I've been collaborating with Misha Burnett on a novella. It is now available for purchase at Amazon.

Well, yes, you should buy it. You'll enjoy it.

Go, now!
Mermaids & Termites
As of October
Thursday, October 6, 2022 4:00 pm
Since about the only posts I make of late are "Mermaids & Termites" posts, I have considered making that the name of the blog. But then all I could talk about would be mermaids and termites, so it's status quo for now. 

While StoryHack the magazine is apparently on a long and indeterminate hiatus (poor Hamlin Becker and his homeless tales!), its publisher is not entirely inactive. The submissions call went out for Volume 2 of the anthology Sidearm & Sorcery. The call was made suddenly on Sep. 2, with a deadline of Sep. 30.

Since S&S's brand of urban fantasy is not my usual mode, I couldn't respond with a trunk story. Luckily, within a day, an idea occurred to me. My existing plans for The Baron of Nevada & His Branded Broads had a fantastical element. Since Baron as SF was going nowhere, I extracted key pieces for a new work, entirely fantasy — and more succinct.

Problem is, as you know, with a quill I am a tortoise. Four weeks for me was a tight schedule. Still, to my happiness, I finished my 4,600-word story, and submitted it on the 27th.

I like what I wrote. It's a little hard-boiled, a little steamy, a little hellish, a little sad. Here's hoping it gets accepted...

Since I like to have hardcopies of my stories (which are, of course, written digitally), I create books though Lulu. Easier and much more fun than laboriously printing with a printer.

It is important to have hardcopies. One continent-wide EMP or one hefty Coronal Mass Ejection and poof! All your digitized life's work would be gone.

Anyhow, my collaboration with Misha Burnett — a novella too odd, a kind of Gothic displacement tale with a male protagonist — needed a hardcopy, so I created this neat little pocketbook. Purely for myself. It should arrive in the mail around Monday.

(Misha is ruminating on an anthology that could be anchored by our novella, but he's also busy right now; and so our low-priority novella is in publication limbo.)

The Impossible Footprint is in print, in the Fall 2022 Cirsova. The Unshrouded Stars has been accepted and will be in the Spring 2023 issue.

Stellar Stories Vol. 1 was released and has sold 22 copies. I also more quietly released a definitive version of Sideways of the Earth (complete with hired cover art) and that has sold 21 copies. The Giant's Walk has sold 25 copies. Granted, 90% of these were discounted sales, but they were sales. I don't know if these are small beginnings or the limits of my appeal. But I carry on.

Stellar Stories Vol. 2 is planned for 2nd quarter 2023. Its actual contents, though not nebulous, are also not fixed. It'll come together.

I'm figuring out my 2024 Cirsova submission, which is still likely to be the 2nd Hak Iri story Motive of Man. I also still need to write the sixth and final Hamlin Becker tale — although, with StoryHack on hiatus, I'd be writing for my trunk. But I do want the tale told.

Probably some other surprise, like the S&S call, will distract and energize me; and that would not be so bad, considering how unmotivated I generally am.

Cirsova Fall 2022 Is Out
Read My Story in It!
Friday, September 2, 2022 12:11 am
The latest issue of Cirsova Magazine is here! And it contains a long work by me. In fact, mine is the cover story!

Buy it on Amazon (to give the publisher money). Review it on Amazon (to increase its rank). Read my novella The Impossible Footprint and be amazed by my epicalosity.

Go, now!
Stellar Stories Vol.1 Is Out
Read All the Stories in It!
Tuesday, July 26, 2022 1:11 pm
The first volume of my collected science fiction & wonder stories has been released! Some stories are new. Some have been previously published in, for example, StoryHack and Cirsova.

The ebook is on Amazon and the paperback is on Lulu. Heck, buy both. They're not expensive, as these things go. Buy, read, and be amazed by my masterfulosity! Go, now!

eBook at Amazon
Paperback at Lulu
Mermaids & Termites
As of July
Wednesday, July 6, 2022 2:35 pm
There's no two ways about it. I am capricious. Every few weeks I have a new plan for what I want to do. I can't stick to anything.

Honestly, these posts should just be updates about what has happened, not what may. I have no idea, really, what I'll be doing in a month.

So what has happened? 

I suppose there's some conformity to prior plans.

I am still working on Stellar Stories Vol. 1. Much as I like a little proofreading and getting things in order, I am truly reaching my limit. But what must be done, must be done. A small excitement is that I have hired an actual illustrator for the cover. I still did the overall design, but getting real art will be nice.

And my plan is still to release the book sometime before the release of Cirsova's Fall issue, to capitalize on my story being the cover story.

But there has been a big distraction. It was my own fault. My collaboration with Misha Burnett had been idle for a year. That bugged me. So I contacted him to get it going again and he agreed. Over the next few weeks we finished the novella. It's quite good, and a bit unusual. Misha came up with an idea to get it out to the public and we are pursuing that, but who knows what will happen.

And as for my own unfinished stories? What are my priorities right now?

My standard for prioritizing has been: "What if I got hit by a truck tomorrow?" What simply must be finished? But that standard has been oddly debilitating. I recognize that writing is work, but writing just to forestall the nonexistence of a story is truly just work. Whether or not it's frivolous, I'd rather be writing for fun.

The sixth Hamlin Becker story — the likely finale — excites me in all that I want to accomplish; but by golly, I'm not in the mood for it. Same goes for the second Hak Iri story. Never mind my poor, moribund novel The Remnant. Those are my top three Get-It-Done-Before-the-Truck-Hits-Me and I just don't care.

So what am I going to do next? Who knows. Come back in a month or two and I'll tell you what I actually did.
Frodo's Adventure

I never got more than a few pages into The Lord of the Rings. I thought the movies were, in the end, boring. Over the years I have acquired a lot of cultural knowledge about Tolkien's intent and craft and, thus intrigued, I have always wished his work would simply attract me, if only so I wasn't the odd man out among my fellow odd men out.

Well, I'm still not planning on reading the book, but on a whim I bought the extended edition of the movie trilogy, and... it's not boring. It may be an unremarkable thing to say, but Lord of the Rings needed the miniseries feel of the extended films. Even though I had never read the books, the theatrical versions had seemed a collection of steps, of scenes, of highlights from something greater.

Now, I have no idea if the extended versions truly represent the books better (aye, there's still no Tom Bombadil, haha), but they at least represent the movies better. There is an epic feel at last, and somehow the human (hobbit, elf, whatever) moments are better grounded.
The "Arts Community"

There are many reasons I did not become an illustrator or painter. Oh, I had the talent. I truly did. I just needed the development.

But I couldn't stand the artists.

They're such a degenerate bunch. And even when I was a teenager, I felt it in my bones: These people aren't right. And as I aged, I wondered why art should arise from such a sorry lot of people. True enough, most of their "art" is, as I often say, Art with a capital F. Even so, why were — why are! — the "arts" so populated with leftists, deviants, and perverts?

The leftists, deviants, and perverts like to pretend that it is only their kind that can even create art; that of course they dominate, because they are necessary. But I have realized something else, something not really that profound but worth remembering.

The leftists, deviants, and perverts have no other home. The "arts community" arises because its denizens revile the true communities of family, neighborhood, nation, and church. For them it is all about the alternate family, the family that has nothing to do with parents and siblings. The artists who are not oikophobes nor freaks blend with the population of the normal world. The "arts community" is just a trap in a greasy drain.

Even then, it does seem that LDPs dominate the production of "art." This is an illusion. Among LDPs there are genuine artists, just as there are among the rest of us, and no more than among the rest of us; but the genuinely talented LDP sets the tone for the "arts community," and that community is profoundly conformist.

We do not have a multitude of LDP artists; we have a handful of such artists and a horde desperately mimicking them. The lowly LDP needs affirmation from his alternate family. The NPC is as much a reality in the arts as in politics.

And, of course, as far as "dominance" is concerned, the "arts community" actively suppresses, or seeks to appropriate and corrupt, any non-LDP art. Their family, not yours, is all and only! They revile that which birthed and nurtured them, and us who represent the communities they have forsaken.

Mermaids & Termites
As of May
Friday, May 13, 2022 12:41 am
So Stupefying Stories was going to shut down after issue #25. As of this past March, two of my stories had been held by them, in limbo, for over two years. There was, let us say, some breakdown in their process. Given the magazine's imminent demise and my disinclination to be caught up in another pointless contract with them, I moved on. 

And so, of course, Stupefying has resurrected itself and has plans to continue indefinitely. They got their act together. Ostensibly. But here I am, out.

Very rude of them.

Just as well, I guess. I understand the root cause of their troubles, but I doubt their time of caprice is over.

Much as I would have liked my two stories to have been published, there's a benefit to their being unaccepted again. I am unlikely to sell them elsewhere but I kind of don't care. I've been putting together volumes of my collected SF stories (for sale) and of course they can't be published using stories that are caught up in exclusivity clauses. Had Stupefying not gone off the rails, both my stories would already be out of exclusivity and available for publication by me. If Stupefying still had them, it might be another year or more before they showed up in the magazine (if at all), and my volumes would be delayed — and I want them all to come out by the end of 2023.

In some ways I've lost interest in getting published at all. I still want to be in Cirsova and StoryHack, but otherwise... eh. I know I won't sell any copies of my books, but I want to try, and I don't want to put them off, and I want the two stories to be included (because they're good).

So Wayward Scarecrow and Banana Man will be "previously unpublished" additions to their respective volumes, and that might even be a bit nifty.

Normally I wouldn't write an SF retelling of a fairy tale, but Shoreline of Infinity put out a call for such stories and, hey, why not? I picked a Grimm staple that was neither obvious nor obscure and sent it along. I titled my tale An Escalation of Wishes but frankly I prefer my second choice of title, Fishes and Wishes. It might get accepted.

If it is, it will come out in their special September issue. In August The Impossible Footprint will be published by Cirsova. So autumn is when I'd like to announce my SF volumes, which will be released on some regular basis over the subsequent year. Strike when the iron is hot! Even if Shoreline rejects me, that Cirsova publication will be significant, since I will be the cover story!

As reported in my previous post, way back in January, I finished the fifth Hamlin Becker story A Devil's Intuition. I'm planning a sixth. The fourth, His Own Ends, has been in the can for a long time, now. I wish StoryHack was active. I'm presuming that these stories will get accepted by StoryHack, which, I admit, is presumptuous; but StoryHack published the first three, so, hope? But the longer StoryHack is inactive, the more it messes with the timing of my volumes, which must include the Becker stuff.

Please, StoryHack... Arise!

I had intended to finish the second Hak Iri story Motive of Man, and indeed started work on it earlier this year. But in general, apart from the silly energy I spent on Wishes, I haven't been too enthusiastic about writing. Or anything.

Anyhow, part of my impetus was to have Motive ready for Cirsova's annual call for submissions at the end of the summer, but I've decided that The Unshrouded Stars would be a better submission. I wrote that for Cirsova in the first place and, fortuitously, Cirsova has a hankering for horror these days. So — perfect!

This relieves the pressure to complete Motive — which, again, was not ripping along — and also frees me up to resume the Becker stuff, which I really want to resolve before I get hit by a truck.

So that's my plan for the summer: (1) Finish Becker #6 and (2) Get ready to launch my SF volumes... which, by the way, are to be called Stellar Stories.

Oh. Some big news I almost forgot. I have fully regained my rights to the three books that Simon & Schuster published in the '90s. Not sure what I'm going to do with that, but it's nice that they're all mine again.

Mermaids & Termites
As of January
Saturday, January 22, 2022 1:41 pm
What a gloomy day. Ate something that has disagreed with me. Not motivated to write fiction. So let's finally update the blog that no one reads.

I have not, after all, resumed work on my unfinished novel The Remnant. My personal priorities have changed and thus, yet again, my writing priorities have changed. We'll see how long this plan holds up. 

Anyhow, I am resolved to finish the two final Hamlin Becker stories and two Hak Iri stories. It is possible that amidst those efforts I will also finish Sympathy of Clocks and The Baron of Nevada and His Branded Broads, but those works are low priority.

I've delayed my collaboration with Misha Burnett. Each time I check in with him he is prompted to pick it up again and add a couple of thousand words. I feel bad about falling behind, but the collaboration is very much a side project for us both. I need to finish other things first.

So why are these two Becker tales "final"? Because I pretty much know how I want the main mysteries to resolve. Strictly speaking, if I live long enough I might write more Becker stuff; but I won't have to.

I've finished the first of the two. It's called A Devil's Intuition. I wrote it with StoryHack in mind, of course, but I wonder if that mag is dead. Bryce the editor has been working on other projects and there have been no mag announcements.

I've already got an earlier Becker story in my hopper: His Own Ends, also intended for StoryHack. I need Bryce to start taking these off my hands, haha!

A Devil's Intuition is really good. It contains my first proper femme fatale. It's not terribly science-fictional, despite the Martians. Definitely a "Chandler in Space." The next (and last?) Becker story, which I haven't started, is going to be the most science-fictional. Still with lots of Chandler, though.

While I step back from Becker to allow his last story to ferment in my mind, I'm working on a Hak Iri story, Motive of Man. "Hak Iri, his friends, and his Love-Girl Esa Nal are drafted by an Aethir Pirate to fight ghosts in the environs of chaotic Ooranos!" Hopefully Cirsova will accept it for the 2023 season. (It's a follow-up, though not a sequel, to The Impossible Footprint, which will be in the Fall 2022 issue of Cirsova.)

I am counting the two Hak Iri stories in my "critical things to write" because I have some cool ideas for that world and I really want them storified. Again, if I live long enough, I'm sure there will be more Hak Iri...

Stupefying Stories is officially dead. There will be two more issues and that's it. My two accepted but unpublished stories (in their hands since 2019) are unlikely to make the cut for the grand finale. At least my stories will be released from their limbo.

It is a very sad thing, I'd say. Semi-pro short-story mags are precious. And this mag accepted two of my works.

Say a prayer for the editor & publisher Bruce Bethke, his future endeavors, and most especially his sickly wife.

I know. Mortality fogs this post. I said it was a gloomy day. And often I'm a gloomy guy. But my necessary fiction is proceeding... slowly.

Tapping those seconds, tapping those keys.

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Spawn of Mars
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