Palace of the Mind with Shards Anthology

Shards anthology cover image
cover of Still Waters, a recent anthology from Spring Song Press.
Still Waters, a recent anthology from Spring Song Press.

Good news! Spring Song Press has agreed to publish my short story “The Palace of the Mind” for its upcoming anthology, Shards.

Some of the guidelines from the submission follow to give you an idea what to expect in the collection:

  • “The story must have a fantasy/speculative element. Science fantasy is ok, but we’re aiming for fantasy rather than straight science fiction.
  • “We generally prefer ‘clean,’ noblebright stories, but this anthology is open to a broader interpretation of noblebright than our other anthologies – grimbright and nobledark are definitely under consideration.
  • “The story must address the ‘Shards’ theme in some way. Shards of lives, shards of a broken heart, shards of broken pottery or glass, shards of myth and memory… be creative!”

“The Palace of the Mind” is billed as a ‘myth of the Chiorli people of Dakoom’ and I believe it fits the above description well, running a touch lighter and more fantastic than  my other recent stories.

Check out Spring Song Press for their previously published anthologies as well as current open anthology calls.

‘Cold Blue Sky’ Out Now in Apex Magazine

Apex Magazine banner
Apex Magazine, May 2018

Fantastic stuff! The latest issue of Apex Magazine has just arrived, featuring a slew of speculative fiction by Cherie Priest, Matthew Sanborn Smith, and more–including my own short story, “Cold Blue Sky.”

You can find it in the May, 2018 issue of Apex, available in both print and digital formats. Please consider picking up a copy and supporting indie sci-fi and pro markets.

Apex also did a podcast version of my story, ably read by Alyson Grauer, which you can listen to or download to your favorite podcast listening device. They did a fantastic job producing this, with some subtle sound effects and music that help signal scene breaks and ambient noise–nothing I ever envisioned when writing.

The story itself could be described as alternate universe cyberpunk pastiche, related from the point-of-view of a human-style android unwittingly drawn the activities of an underground group. One thing it tries to convey is a point-of-view character that unlike a lot of AI, isn’t one that’s smarter than us, but is ‘below legal thresholds for sentience’–which some legislators attempted to define.

The online group Critique.org (a.k.a. Critters) provided feedback on early versions of this story. Check them out if you’re looking for a stable, well-run spec fiction critique group.

Update: Be sure to read the four-star review of the story by RocketStackRank, a blog dedicated to reading and rating short science fiction as well as independent and diverse voices in sff.

The Squirming, Scarlet Madness Invades Amazon!

“I pledge my infinite spirit to speak the truth; may the Sleeping Gods strike me down should I lie… Yes, I understand the charges: Unlawful Necromancy and Abominable Parricide in breach of the King’s Law. I plead innocent due to the extraordinary circumstances. If it pleases the court, I should like to read a statement in my defense.”

Cover of The Squirming, Scarlet Madness
A novelette of cosmic horror all the way from the Astral Diadem.

Rights to my novelette of cosmic horror, The Squirming, Scarlet Madness, reverted last year, allowing me to publish it as an independent author on Amazon. It is also available through the Society of Misfit Stories anthology, as detailed in this earlier post.

The story is in part unabashed Lovecraft pastiche, so if that’s not your cup of tea, no worries. I say “in part” with reason, as there are some differences between it and other Mythos-inspired tales. Among these is an Earth-like setting complete with automobiles, shotguns, and telephones—yet it isn’t Earth. As that might puzzle some, I’ll elaborate.

Continue reading “The Squirming, Scarlet Madness Invades Amazon!”

“Cold Blue Sky” Placed with Apex Magazine

Apex Magazine banner
Cold Blue Sky (image CC0 via Pixabay)

These type of updates are always fun to write. A few days ago, I received the good news that Apex Magazine has purchased my short story “Cold Blue Sky” which will appear in an upcoming issue, both online and I believe in the new print issues available to Patreon supporters.

No spoilers on the story, except to say it’s set in a near-future setting along the lines of an alternate Earth and involves artificial intelligence.  That said, it’s still set in the same universe as the other Astral Diadem stories–which was designed as a setting large enough to handle multiple genres and eras.

About Apex:

Apex Magazine is a monthly science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazine featuring original, mind-bending short fiction from many of the top pros of the field. New issues are released the first Tuesday of every month.

It’s a great magazine I read on a regular basis and many of the stories are available to read online or download and listen to in podcast form.

Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll for Misfit Stories

The Preditors & Editors™ Readers’ Poll is now live and includes an anthology, The Society of Misfit Stories, Volume One, which I covered in a previous blog post here. The anthology includes my 10,000 word horror novelette, The Squirming, Scarlet Madness.

So if you’d like, please take a moment to vote in the poll. You’ll need to visit the anthology page, include your email address, and then verify your vote through email authentication. Feel free to vote in the other categories as well.

P&E is run by critters.org, a science fiction and fantasy online workshop that I have been a member of for years and highly recommend, particularly for intermediate-stage authors approaching your first publication or with a few short stories already available. The group can also critique novel-length works, although those will receive less feedback for obvious reasons.

During my time in the workshop, I’ve critiqued hundreds of short stories but only two novels and I expect the ratio for most other participants is similar.

 

Ride the Star Wind Out Now

Ride the Star Wind, an anthology of Lovecraft-themed space opera, is now available from Broken Eye Books in paperback and hardback format. I received my hardback copy recently and it’s gorgeous, from the lush cover to the rich array of professional illustrations inside. It was particularly exciting to see the illustration for my story.

My story in the anthology is called “The Eater of Stars” and it’s about 6,000 words of space opera set in the same Astral Diadem setting as my other stories. The attempt here was to create a contrast between an imaginable humanoid high-tech/magitek civilization and the further unknown: a species of alien beings significantly more advanced than the humanoid civilization. Along those lines, it uses a device from The Shadow Out of Time, among others.

Continue reading “Ride the Star Wind Out Now”

Beetle-Cleaned Skulls Live on Escape Pod

Exciting day today as Escape Pod has published my science fiction short story, “Beetle-Cleaned Skulls” on their site, both as a text version and a 30-minute audio version read by professional voice talent Trendane Sparks.

This is a great milestone,  my first SFWA-qualifying sale and the first one to go live. It’s also the second time I’ve heard my own work in audio form read by others. It’s exciting to hear a skilled narrator reading your own work, while at the same time your own clumsy phrasing and poor word choices is cringe-inducing.

The story itself is set in the Astral Diadem, the same broad setting used by most of the other work on this page. The Rapport that feature prominently in this one are mentioned tangentially in “Faster Than Death”, (previously published in the Shattered Space anthology). The same setting also appears in “The Eater of Stars” forthcoming in Ride the Star Wind, as well as 7-8 other shorts currently making the rounds.

Beyond that, I won’t say too much about “Beetle-Cleaned Skulls” itself. You’ll have to go and read or listen to the story yourself.

Ride the Star Wind on Kickstarter

Last week, my story “The Eater of Stars” was accepted by the anthology Ride the Star Wind. This is exciting as it should qualify as my second SFWA sale, along with the story coming soon to Escape Pod.

Ride the Star Wind: Where Space Opera Meets Cosmic Horror is a Cthulhu-themed space opera anthology from Broken Eye Books. Here’s a description from the anthology call:

Send us into space, away from earth, and bring the weird! Give us adventure and wonder, spaceships and monsters, tentacles and insanity, determined struggle and starborne terror…

We want diverse stories with modern sensibilities from many different voices that show the immense and diverging possibilities ahead for weird horror…

For mixing elements of space opera and cosmic weird horror, the short story “Boojum” by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette is a great touchstone…

You can read the full call here.

Continue reading “Ride the Star Wind on Kickstarter”