New Story at Toasted Cake

toasted-cake-logo-100My story “The Chex Gambit” is now up at Tina Connolly‘s most excellent Toasted Cake podcast. It takes a little over eleven minutes to listen.

This is my first publication via Podcast, and it was such a blast to hear someone else reading something I wrote. It’s not exactly the way I would’ve read it, but that’s the point, isn’t it? Tina does a great job, and then says things that make me sound smarter than I actually am.

Maxx Destruktinator, the story’s protagonist, is named after my friend Maxx, aka DJ Maxx Destrukt. I originally used her name as a placeholder for my supervillain, but grew attached to it, and asked permission to keep it. Thanks, Maxx!

Upcoming Appearances: Norwescon (Seatac) next week, Auntie’s Books (Spokane) in April

Next weekend is Norwescon, the annual Seattle/Tacoma convention that my family has attended for the last couple of years. It’s one of the larger regional conventions, so I’m told, and it’s crowded but a lot of fun.

This year is different: I’m there as a professional, and will be on a number of panels. I’m especially interested in people attending my reading on Saturday night from 5:30 to 6 in Cascade 4. Expect a giveaway–or two!–some candy, and more.

My full Norwescon schedule is below. If you can’t attend any of the panels, you can also find me at the Fairwood Writers’ social, the Clarion West social, and around. Stop me and say hi!

On Saturday, April 14th, I’ll be joining other Writers of the Future winners at Auntie’s Books in Spokane for a 7 pm reading and signing. If you’re in that neck of the woods, I hope to see you there.

Here’s where I’ll be at Norwescon:
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New Story, and Awards Eligibility

My story, The Leviathans Have Fled the Sea, was published today over at Diabolical Plots. I’m super-excited to have my steampunk airship whaler mermaid story online, where everyone can read it. Please have a look!

“The Leviathans Have Fled the Sea” is eligible for short story awards in all the usual categories. I did have one other story published this year, a 1350 word horror story called “Fly Swatter,” over at DarkFuse, which has since shut down. If you’re nominating for awards, and that seems like the kind of thing you might want to look at, drop me a line and I’ll send you a copy.

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, 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.