Spawn of Mars
Evil is not capable of creating anything new, it can only distort and destroy what has been invented or made by the forces of good.
Mermaids & Termites
As of January
Saturday, January 28, 2023 6:13 pm
Issues and holidays have kept me from proper productivity. There is so little to report.

My submission to Sidearm & Sorcery Vol. 2 has been accepted. I think I mentioned that it is called "The Baron of Nevada & His Branded Broads." I got that title from the cover of a men's magazine from 1962. Surely the original article or story was the usual soft-core adventure. While my story is not soft-core, I did try to present some earnest sexiness. The anthology should come out in the first half of the year, perhaps even the first quarter.

I have worked with an artist to create a cover illustration for Stellar Stories Vol. 2. The illo has turned out really good. I've got the contents formatted and proofread, and much of the promotional stuff staged. I'm targeting publication for the second half of March.

With The Unshrouded Stars coming out in Cirsova this March, early 2023 will be a wee public for me. But that's likely it for the year. Nothing else is in the pipe.

I've done no writing since I submitted Baron. Four months! Typical. But perhaps I'll get on it and be writing stuff soon, not least the final Hamlin Becker tale. I need to write around 20K words to flesh out Stellar Stories Vol. 3. That is, whatever I write in 2023 will have to go directly to Vol. 3, since any intervening magazine publications would push Vol. 3 out to 2025 and I want it published no later than a year from now.

At least it has finally snowed. There was a brief bit of snowfall around Christmas but Michigan has been otherwise miserably dark and gray. Even on a sunless day the snow brightens! So my mood's been OK. Just need to rev up the writing now...
"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.

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.

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Spawn of Mars
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