Spawn of Mars
Don't worry. If you like your religion, you can keep your religion.
Writing About Pluto
Get a Free Copy of Poof Poof Ya Does Me a Favor
Sunday, November 19, 2017 5:12 pm
Superversive Press is creating a series of anthologies, each of them focused on one of the nine planets in our system. I really like this idea and, when I heard about the series, immediately wanted to contribute.

Several anthologies, such as those for Mars and Venus, were already closed for submission. Luckily I wasn't left with only Uranus. Pluto was still available. 

I have written one other story about Pluto; one of my favorites. But I didn't want to recycle something old. I took the parameters of the anthology — science fiction about some combination of wealth, death, or Pluto the world — and wrote something entirely new. It's a nice tale of natural mysteries near Charon, Pluto's primary moon. I also worked in a nice lot of philosophy.

As I wrote it, though, I wondered how many of the contributors would be touching on similiar ideas. It's a thematic anthology, after all. For example, I added a (relevant) defense of Pluto as a proper planet, contra the pedantic killjoys. How many such defenses will the editor have to read? How many can the anthology bear?

Anyhow, what I wrote is pretty good. I'm optimistic about its chances. But we all know how this goes. It's been submitted; acceptance is another matter entirely.

In celebration of the new story and its submission, I thought it might be nice to make my other Pluto story available. Poof Poof Ya Does Me a Favor was originally published in Thundershine, way back in 1999. Between 11/21 and 11/25, you can get it for free on Amazon. Enjoy!

Sample the Revolution
And Give My Story a Read
Monday, October 30, 2017 8:40 am
Back in August, the folks at PulpRev put out a call for stories. They wanted stories no longer than fifteen hundred words, and we aspirants were given one week to submit. Obviously, had I a suitable story lying around, I could have simply polished it a bit and leisurely submitted it; but I entered the spirit of the call and wrote a fresh tale.

I took a very old, tiny idea that had never become the novel I imagined — "A king on the run refuses to abdicate" — and combined that with a little pulpy weirdness, and created The King's Portion.

You can get the sampler by buying it directly for all of 99 cents at Amazon or by signing up for the PulpRev mailing list (details here).

Go, now! Become enjoyified!

P.S. As with StoryHack, it was nice working with the PulpRev folks. If nothing else, the Pulp Revolution does not treat little-known authors with disdain!
StoryHack #1 Is Out
Read My Story in It!
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 9:45 am
StoryHack is the magazine that accepted my story this past summer. Bryce Beattie, the editor, was a refreshingly responsive and professional contact. He did a fine job editing me, too, making things better without undoing my voice. (Cirsova rejected the same story, but its editor P. Alexander was another wonderfully responsive contact.)

Anyhow, StoryHack #1 is out. Buy it on Amazon (to give the publisher money). Review it on Amazon (to increase its rank). Read my story Some Things Missing From Her Profile and be amazed by my superlativiosity. Go, now!

P.S. It's awesome to be in the inaugural issue. Yes, there was a proof-of-concept issue #0, but being in #1 feels nice.
Good News
I've Sold a Story
Sunday, July 16, 2017 2:23 pm
I've never had a writing career. For a time in the 1990s I had a contract with Simon & Schuster. I produced three books. I never properly capitalized on that part of my life, however. It all faded away. Then I resumed the author's life of rejection after rejection.

Today, though, I can report that I have sold a story. I took one of the stories that was rejected just this past month and submitted it to another magazine. This time it was accepted. I'll give you more details as things develop (not least the name of the fine magazine in question), but for now I'll only say that the story should see print before year's end.

Yes, I'm getting paid, too, a standard and proper rate.

Thanks, God.
Wait.  I Have a Blog?
The Days Do Pass
Thursday, July 6, 2017 10:37 am
So I spent May and a little of early June writing two stories for two magazines, each of which would be reading submissions in June. This blog, which has always been neglected, was thus especially neglected. My daily portion of words went into the fiction.

So I submitted the stories. Both were rejected.

One came close to acceptance and for that I'm grateful. Both magazines were outstanding in their responsiveness. They acknowledged receipt of my stories, kept me posted, and rejected me in a timely fashion. Now, that's not snark. I have spent my life waiting and waiting and waiting for magazines and publishers to get back with me. You put a work on hold while you wait. And it's months and months and months and finally you have to nag... But not this time. It was damn nice to be treated with courtesy.

While I was waiting I did some reading and vidya and a fair amount of real life. I hope to create a better balance and keep this blog alive, somehow. I actually have a couple of ideas for posts, one about the Wizard of Oz and one about Warhammer 40K.

See you in a bit.
Do It Again, Do It Again!
Who Doesn't Like a Series?
Wednesday, January 4, 2017 1:45 pm
There's a lot of advice regarding self-publishing. Much of it involves leveraging Facebook or Twitter or writers' conferences and forums; networking, as it were. I am incompetent at networking. I am generally incompetent at peopling. But one bit of advice I can take is to create a series.

I tend not to make separate works that involve the same characters or worlds. I did write several short stories involving Pugnacious Footefake, but those together barely constitute a single book. The idea, rather, is to offer several related books. 

It makes sense. A series encourages the reader to buy another book. A series makes the author's back-catalog attractive. A series creates fans. People like series. I myself, as a reader, like series.

Give the people what they want!

Creating a series would, in my case, be a particularly good discipline. If you look at my books as a collection, you can see that eclectic is the charitable description. I am not in any niche; not really. It's the strange reader who, having enjoyed The Spare Midge, would be attracted to Sideways of the Earth. A series at least creates its own niche.

Fortunately, I have a rich idea for a certain world and a beginning trilogy. And so, perhaps, rather than finish yet another eccentric novel like The Giant's Walk, I should devote myself to creating a series.

Yes. I think I will.

How Quaint Your Tale!
Already a Period Piece?
Sunday, January 1, 2017 1:29 pm
"Aggressively self-promoting" does not describe me. I have made a few bold moves in my writing career (one of which paid off), but I have never been guilty of dogged legwork on my own behalf. My works therefore tend to age, unread.

I have recently retired from my day job. I am still young enough (and not in the self-delusional sense of 60-is-the-new-40) that I now have more than enough time to work a lot harder at getting myself either noticed or traditionally published.

I thought of trying, yet again, to get Noah, Penny published by someone other than myself. Then I reviewed the story in my mind. I realized that it is dated. No cellphones; no texting; no TV on demand; no internet at all. Not one of the characters — all of them in the eighth grade — makes any reference to social media. And how could they? The book was written in the mid-'90s. 

What's worse, the kids communicate via landlines and — gasp! — notes dropped in lockers and at front doors. No texting through the noosphere. Then there's the discussion of a certain VHS videotape — a thing modern children probably can't even identify.

Well. Okay. Does Noah, Penny have a charm as, perhaps, a period piece? Hardly. In what possible way could the '90s charm anyone? The book is not even touched by any particular cultural markers, as if Kurt Cobain makes an appearance. Perversely, it was written to be timeless and instead it just seems off. "Oh, look, a story about two eighth-graders circa 1995. Um. Why should I care about 1995?"

I've flirted with the idea of upgrading the tech in the book. Hey, I'll just pretend it is set in 2015! But we all know how instant access to the noosphere invalidates a lot of dramatic turns. ("What do you mean you can't find Hansel and Gretel? They've got GPS on their cells, right?") The choices my characters make are not likely to survive the possibility of tweeting.

I'll keep thinking about my options; but Noah, Penny may have missed its chance.

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StoryHack #6
Stupefying Stories #22
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