Preorder Martian Issue 1

Do you want to support a pro-paying market for super-short stories? If so, the first issue of Martian: The Magazine of Science Fiction Drabbles is available for purchase on Amazon. My story “Honey and Apples” is in excellent company.

Cover of Martian Issue 1

Kickstarting Modern Gothic Horror

In Somnio: A Collection of Modern Gothic Horror, with my short story “Always an After,” will be published by Tenebrous Press. The Kickstarter campaign is about to enter its final week.

In Somnio cover
Cover art by Sally Contirino

The anthology is edited by Alex Woodroe and will contain a number of cool illustrations. How many illustrations? That’s still up for debate. The project reached its Kickstarter goal, so now we’re into stretch goal territory. The first stretch goal will add more illustrations (plus a modest bump in author payment). The second stretch goal will add yet more illustrations (plus bookplates for the hardcover), and the third will fund a pair of 2022 novellas.

In an effort to flog the Kickstarter, Alex has published a number of author interviews and readings. My interview is a bit spoilery (so if you care about that and plan to pick up the anthology you may wish to skip it for now). I don’t do a lot with video—I never made that pivot (but did anyone, really?) and I’m not terribly fond of my voice—but I figured if I had a largely empty cabin closet with a bare bulb, it’d be a shame not to make use of it. (Sitting in an upstairs closet with an incandescent bulb in August can get a little warm. Never let it be said that I do not suffer for the promotion of art.)

So if indie presses and “a collection of modern Gothic horror” are your sort of thing, please swing by the Kickstarter and back the project. If you’re reading this after the campaign ends on September 2, check out the Tenebrous website or the bookseller of your choice.

“Family Dinner”: Underland Arcana

My flash story “Family Dinner” is out today in the third issue of Underland Arcana. It’s free to read online. You can also buy the issue as an ebook or paperback and support the cool stuff Mark Teppo’s doing with Underland Press.

Cover image of Underland Arcana Issue 3

So far, my stories for Underland are 2 for 2 incorporating unhealthy relationships with food—let that serve as a content warning and promise that the third story will deal with different themes. “Family Dinner” was inspired by a different publication’s flash contest; the prompt was Dorothea Tanning’s Portrait de famille.

“Kill Switch”: Flash Fiction Podcast

Check out Manawaker Studio’s Flash Fiction Podcast 0614 to listen to “Kill Switch.” I always think it’s interesting to hear a reader’s choices: pauses, emphasis, etc. In this case I particularly wanted to hear the results because CB Droege is a man, and I had originally pictured my narrator as a woman. (I didn’t specify gender in the story; that was a detail I consciously jettisoned when I cut the piece down to flash length, after deciding a longer version wasn’t working.) I like the version he produced and generally get a kick out of hearing my stories read.

“Kill Switch” originally appeared in Daily Science Fiction, if you’d like to read along while you listen.

“Now and Then and Back Again: A Play of Three Acts”: The Chorochronos Archives

In 2017, I started writing-and-finishing things after a pretty long break (and, a couple years later, started submitting some of them). 2017 was a bad time for politics in the United States, and it just kept getting worse. (No, I did not think it would end with hundreds of thousands of excess pandemic deaths and an armed insurrection. In retrospect, I marvel at my optimism.) With all the talk of inhabiting the darkest timeline, my mind turned to time travel—and futility.

The story accidentally came out in play form (well, “play” or “90s Terry Bisson,” depending on your perspective). I decided I liked it, especially since that made it easy to obscure gender and skip physical descriptions. Depending on the combination of gender identity, presentation, race, accent, etc. of the characters, it reads differently. I felt like I’d accidentally performed a Stupid Author Trick. And now the story has a home, nestled among other time travel tales.

Cover of The Chorochronos Archives

“Coffin Bell”: The NoSleep Podcast

My micro story “Coffin Bell” is part of Suddenly Shocking Vol. 13, a bonus episode of The NoSleep Podcast. It’s available to Season 15 pass holders.

This story’s a reprint nobody read: I originally published it on my Patreon, back when I thought I might do something with Patreon. (I mostly posted pictures of flowers and my dog.) It’s neat to hear it produced, with the expected bell-ringing in the background. This is the first time I’ve had a story appear as part of a podcast.

National Science Fiction Day

It’s National Science Fiction Day, apparently because this is when we think Isaac Asimov was probably born, more or less.

NASA image of "rose" galaxies, with the text "January 2 2021" and "National Science Fiction Day."

I’m not a big fan of policing genre boundaries. That’s partially because it’s an exercise in futility, partially because of the toxicity often motivating such impulses. (Counting FTL and psionics as science fictional, and shuffling sciences other than physics and engineering into the oft-denigrated “soft” category, speaks much more to the highly specific development of the literary field than it does to any sort of foundation in reality.) But mostly, it’s just because I don’t much care. I’m a fan of everything that falls under the umbrella of speculative fiction.

That said, three of my stories from last year fall pretty recognizably into the science fiction genre. I invite you to read them in celebration of a hashtag holiday.

“Kill Switch”

“Digital Pyre”

“Purple Lizard Skin”

Little Blue Marble 2020: Greener Futures

The fourth annual Little Blue Marble anthology is out now. It collects stories published during 2020, including my own “Digital Pyre.” Proceeds help keep the webzine up, running, and paying pro rates. The print edition ships soon; the digital version is available almost instantaneously. Pick up a copy at Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble or Kobo. If you would like to curl up and read on this darkest night, in this darkest of years, in this darkest of timelines, you can find some hopeful words here.

Cover of Little Blue Marble 2020: Greener Futures

Pushcart nomination

Corvid Queen announced their Pushcart nominations today. I’m very pleased that my story “Changeling” is on the list. The other nominees are “Plucked” by Tara Calaby, “The Giving Limbs” by Briana Garelli, “Beauty Pretends to Get Lost in the Garden” by Quinn Lui, “In Which His Sea Bride Regrets” by Kim Welliver, and “The Magic in Her Bones” by Rin Willis.

For those previously unaware, the Pushcart Prize highlights work published by small presses and the Pushcart Press publishes an annual Best Of series that began in 1976. Editors nominate up to six pieces published during the calendar year. On the one hand, that means a lot of authors are nominated for the Pushcart Prize. One the other hand, it means an editor, after selecting pieces from the slush pile, chose the nominated pieces as their favorites from the winnowed pile. That sort of validation feels very nice.