Story Sale: Fly Swatter (DarkFuse)

darkfuse-fly-swatter-promo-imageI’m pleased to announce that my short story “Fly Swatter” will appear in DarkFuse Magazine on March 3rd. This is a nasty little flash fiction horror tale, clocking in at about 1350 words.

It’s also the first story I’ve published that originated in “Weekend Warrior,” an annual flash fiction contest at Codex, an online writers’ community. Thanks to Vylar Kaftan for her work running the contest, and to all my fellow contest participants who offered their feedback.

2016 Awards Eligibility Post

Inspired by my Clarion West classmate S. Qiouyi Lu, I figured I should probably throw my hat in the ring for 2016 awards eligibility. I haven’t accomplished as much as S this year, so my post will be correspondingly shorter.

Like S., I’m also in my first year of eligibility for the John W Campbell award for best new writer. That said, if I was you, I’d vote for S., not me. In fact, I’d actively encourage you to consider S. Qiouyi Lu for best new writer.

I saw two stories published this year which are up for consideration in the short story category for both the Nebulas and Hugos, and possibly for other awards as well.

“The Star Tree,” a 4200 word science fiction short story, appeared in Writers of the Future, volume 32. It took first place in the fourth quarter of the competition. It’s the story of a boy who’s lost his mother, and of a trading-card game where children can trade entire lost planets.

“Real Selfies,” a 2900 word contemporary fantasy story, appeared in Untethered: A Magic iPhone Anthology. In the story, a camera app has the power to take photographs of your darkest fears.

If you’re reading for these or other awards, please drop me an e-mail and I’ll send you review copies of one or both stories.

Untethered authors disclose their story inspirations for the anthology

Untethered book coverWhere do authors get their story ideas, anyway? In honor of the book release for Untethered: A Magic iPhone Anthology, four authors divulge their inspirations.

Untethered: A Magic iPhone Anthology is a fictional collection of twenty stories about the intersection of magic and tech, so real life phone interaction must have meant something, right? Maybe. You might be surprised by the truth.

Jon Lasser: I’ve spent a lot of time on the Internet watching people curate their photo feeds–making themselves look more interesting, more confident, and happier than they feel. One day, the question popped into my head: what if the camera showed people how they really felt, not how they wanted to appear? And the story took off from there.

Stevehen Warren: Years ago, I had a very good experience with Apple technical support. I liked the idea of a customer support person dealing with this zany customer, while remaining focused on the customer service aspect.

Dale Cameron Lowry: I’ve always had a soft spot for lost and injured animals, and have housed my share of lost or abandoned dogs and cats until their owners could be found or the animals could get a good foster or forever home. My current cat came into my life when I found her darting under the cars in my parking lot. She was a kitten, probably about 12 weeks old, and though I initially had no plans to keep her, she decided otherwise. When I read the call for the Magic iPhone anthology, I started to think about what would happen if a softie like me became a lost animal magnet through the power of their iPhone.

A. Moritz: I was just thinking about how we don’t really know anything about our iPhones. Most of us have no idea how they work, what they’re made of, where the technology was actually developed…we have no idea what their full capabilities are. Then I thought, ‘What if we added magic to it?” Then we really wouldn’t know all that they can do!

Want to see what these authors did with the concept of a magic iPhone? Pick up your copy of Untethered: a Magic iPhone Anthology in ebook or trade paperback today. Find it at Amazon.com, Nook, or wherever you prefer to grab your books.

Extra Interest: H. M. Jones shares “I have a forty dollar pay as you go phone. Stop laughing at me. I do, however, think iPhones are cool. I just don’t trust myself with that kind of expensive tech. I’m supremely clumsy. The thing most like me about this story is that a cell ends up in a toilet. Because five of my cells have ended up in toilets. I let them be. They were cheap.”

Wait For It: Diabolical Plots, December 2017

I spilled the beans on Twitter a while ago, but today I’m pleased to formally announce that my story “The Leviathans Have Fled the Sea” will be published by Diabolical Plots, in December 2017.

Sixteen more months feels like a long wait, but long waits are not terribly unusual for short fiction. When a single story submission can wait as long as four to six months before being read and either accepted or rejected, with submission to only one publication at a time, time horizons can stretch.

Every part of the writing and publication process can stretch out. Heck, I wrote this story in November of 2014. The draft languished on my hard drive untouched for about six months before I sent it to my writers group for critique, and it was October of 2015 before I revised my draft. Between then and July, the story was almost constantly on submission and racked up six rejections during that time. (This also isn’t an unusual number; my 1st-place Writers of the Future story, “The Star Tree,” racked up nine rejections before it won the contest.)

With a hold notice in July, followed by acceptance and subsequent announcement this month, and another sixteen months until publication, I feel it’s safe to say that writing and publishing short fiction is not for the impatient! This isn’t to criticize David Steffen, editor at Diabolical Plots, or any of the other wonderful editors I’ve worked with. It’s just a reality of the business, one that astonishes many people from outside the industry, who don’t understand the flood of submissions or the complexity of subsequent work that occurs between acceptance and publication.

I’m also thrilled to be sharing December 2017 at Diabolical Plots with Rachael K. Jones, with whom I’ve also shared tables of contents at Penumbra and Writers of the Future 32.

Writers of the Future 32 On Sale

Twitter WOTF Amazon 99c eBook card1If you don’t read my newsletter (you should subscribe!), you might not know that Writers of the Future 32, containing my story “The Star Tree,” is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon.comKobo, and Nook. (I understand it’s also supposed to be on sale via Apple’s iTunes, but the link wasn’t working for me when I tried it.)

The anthology is currently the number-one best seller in Amazon’s science fiction anthologies category, as well as in the post-apocalyptic category. (Stewart C. Baker’s  “Images Across a Shattered Sea” is an excellent post-apocalyptic story in the volume.)

If you’ve been on the fence about buying the book, 99 cents for the digital edition is a steal for so many great stories.

I’m back… and upcoming appearances

clarionwest2016_front_small

Artwork by S. Qiouyi Lu. Used with Permission.

I’ve returned from Clarion West, and my mind and heart are still blown. I’ve come back with a new group of friends, a head full of crazy ideas, and a new tattoo.

My estimable classmate S. Qiouyi Lu (who also did our fabulous Team Arsenic drawing) has written a fabulous blog post on Clarion West 2016 lessons that’s more cogent than anything I could manage right now. Perhaps I’ll have my own additions at a later date.

You probably haven’t noticed that my Appearances page has been updated. I’ll be attending MidAmeriCon as a fan later this month, just for Friday through Sunday. Towards the end of September, I’ll be a featured reader at Two Hour Transport and attending the launch of the Untethered magic iPhone anthology.

I hope to see many of you there!

Reading at University Book Store

Tomorrow, Thursday, June 30th, at 7 pm, Stephen Merlino and I will be reading from Writers of the Future, Volume 32, at the University Book Store. We will be joined by WOTF32 artist Paul Otteni.

WOTF32

You’re probably sick of this picture by now.

It would be impossible to overstate how excited I am about this reading. The University Book Store hosts the Clarion West summer reading series, and Duane Wilkins, who runs the SF readings there, has been called “Seattle’s godfather of sci-fi and fantasy.” I love the readings that they host, and it’s my dream location for a reading.

Please come join us.

Gone Fishin’

For the next six weeks, I’ll be attending the Clarion West writer’s workshop, a six week program designed to improve my writing and prepare me for a career as a professional author.

cw-write-a-thon-signups

During the workshop, I don’t plan to update this blog, unless I’m especially inspired to do so. (I will have one automated post reminding people to attend my reading at the University Book Store on Thursday, June 30th.)

In the meantime, I’d encourage you to support the Clarion West Write-a-thon. If you’re a writer, you can sign up to participate. If you’re a reader, you can sponsor a participating writer. Either way, you’re helping to fund good people who train writers to succeed.