“Ruminants” in Los Suelos, CA

Surface Dweller Studios just released the multimedia anthology Los Suelos, CA. My story “Ruminants” is part of the line up. It’s about a weird goat in a weirder town.

I’m stoked about this project for a few reasons. My story’s a personal first: it was pitched (rather than written and then submitted) and it’s a work-for-hire in a shared world. This is the most literal appearance of an archival artifact I’ve actually worked with (albeit as a throw-away line). It’s also one in a string of Good Editorial Experiences (thanks go to Barton Aikman).

The sprawling TOC is impressive, but I love that the project is (much) more than prose. There’s artwork; the debut album of the Fluppies, a nonexistent punk band; and a game that lets you explore the town. It’s a cool, weird creation and I’m very pleased to be part of it.

The project supports an excellent cause: the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation. The organization provides legal aid and advocacy for farmworkers, undocumented and mixed-status families, and other marginalized communities in California. If you are so inclined, you can donate via the Los Suelos site. The Fluppies would approve. So would the goat. (I guess? Maybe? I dunno, it’s a goat, but it doesn’t seem like the sort of goat who approves of exploitation.)

A subset of writers eligible for the Astounding Award

The Astounding Award for Best New Writer is sponsored by Dell, administered by the World Science Fiction Convention, and nominated and voted on by Attending and Supporting members of Worldcon. It recognizes the best new writer on the speculative fiction scene.

The definition of a “new writer” is a little arcane. Eligibility begins with the first professional publication and lasts for two years, but the definition of “professional” depends on payment and may not be immediately obvious to readers. (This means an author with a Big Five debut novel may no longer be eligible because of previous short story publications; or an author with years of indie novels may become eligible as a “new” writer with a sufficiently successful entry in the series.) So it’s very useful to have lists—or authors saying “hey, I’m eligible!”

The Astounding Award site was my starting point (shoutout to Bill Katz and David Walton), supplemented by the crowdsourced Hugo recommendation list maintained by Lady Business (shoutout to Anna, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan) and information knocking around in my own skull. I’ve listed Twitter handle and website where available, falling back to some other link of use.

Second (Final) Year of Eligibility

Eisuke Aikawa: note.com/aikawa_eisuke999/n/nc32329b768fa
G. D. Angier: @genangier
Gautam Bhatia: @gautambhatia88 | goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/21942563-2
Grace Chan: @gracechanwrites | gracechanwrites.com
Ashley Deng: @ashesandmochi | ashedeng.carrd.co
Tracy Deonn: @tracydeonn | tracydeonn.com
Filip Hajdar Drnovšek Zorko: @filiphdz | filiphdz.com
Illimani Ferreira: @IFSciFi | ifscifi.com
Mika Grimmer: @mikagrimmer | mikagrimmer.com
Amit Gupta: @superamit | amitgupta.com
Essa Hansen: @EssaHansen | essahansen.com
A. P. Howell: @APHowell | aphowell.com
Sid Jain: @Sid__j | sidjain.info
Keishi Kajifune: twitter.com/Kshi_kaji/status/1329409940255961089
J. R. H. Lawless: @spacelawyersf | lawlessauthor.com
Malena Salazar Maciá: malenabibliografia.blogspot.com
Elaine Vilar Madruga: facebook.com/elainevilarmadruga.oficialpage
Nick Martell: nickmartell.com
M. V. Mercer: melmelcer.net
Lawrence Miller: twitter.com/ldpm/status/1331324040208928770
Leah Ning: @LeahNing | leahning.com
John Possidente: johnpossidente.com
Lauren Ring: @ringwrites | laurenmring.com
R. P. Sand: @RadhaPyari | radhapyarisandhir.com
A. T. Sayre: @AtSayre | atsayre.com/fiction
Sameem Siddiqui: @s_meems | sameemwrites.com
Jonathan Sims: @jonnywaistcoat | jonathan-sims.com
Kristina Ten: @kristina_ten | kristinaten.com
Allison Thai: @thaisibir | allisonthai.wordpress.com
Aiden Thomas: @aidenschmaiden | aiden-thomas.com
Ziyin Xiong: doi.org/10.1038/d41586-020-01664-3

First Year of Eligibility

Shreya Ila Anasuya: shreyailaanasuya.com
Betsy Aoki: @baoki | betsyaoki.com
Warren Benedetto: @warrenbenedetto | warrenbenedetto.com
Charles Q. Choi: @cqchoi | cqchoi.com
Kel Coleman: @kcolemanwrites | kelcoleman.com
Kate Francia: @outoftheatlas | katefrancia.com
Harry Josephine Giles: @HJosephineGiles | harryjosephine.com
A. L. Goldfuss: @alicegoldfuss | blog.alicegoldfuss.com
David Goodman: @WordsByGoodman | davidgoodman.net
Alyson Grauer: @dreamstobecome | dreamstobecome.com
Thomas Ha: @ThomasHaWrites | thomashawrites.com
Isabel J. Kim: @isabeljkim | isabel.kim
Jessica Lévai: @AuthorLevai | jessicalevai.com
Nic Lipitz: niclipitz.wordpress.com
C. E. McGill: @C_E_McGill | cemcgill.com
Lindz McLeod: @lindzmcleod | lindzmcleod.co.uk
Reed Mingault: @MilvusScribe | reedmingault.wordpress.com
Shelley Parker-Chan: @shelleypchan | shelleyparkerchan.com
Kiran Kaur Saini: kirankaursaini.com
Neil Sharpson: unshavedmouse.com
Eric Silberstein: ericsilberstein.com
Aparna Verma: @Spirited_Gal | theaparnaverma.com
Eris Young: @Young_E_H | apiomancy.wordpress.com
Xiran Jay Zhao: @xiranjayzhao | xiranjayzhao.com

These aren’t the only eligible authors, but checking out their work is worth any reader’s time. Members of Discon III and Chicon 8 (aka Worldcons 79 and 80) have until March 15 to nominate. Members of Chengdu (aka Worldcon 81) should pay particular attention to the first year authors, who’ll still be eligible in 2023.

Preorder Martian Issue 4

I’m going to have a story in the fourth issue of Martian: The Magazine of Science Fiction Drabbles. (It’s called “Tethered, In Darkness” and it’s about a generation ship.) If you read your ebooks on a Kindle and enjoy them popping up on release day, like a present from Past You, consider preordering from Amazon.

Cover of Martian Issue 4

You can also, of course, order other issues of the magazine (#2 is at Smashwords, because KDP is not always cooperative). Especially if you like to consume drabbles like popcorn: delicious bites in a big bowl of more delicious bites.

“In Transit, Beautiful” in The Antihumanist

My space junk story “In Transit, Beautiful” appears in the Third Edition of The Antihumanist. I was charmed a number of years ago when I learned about space archaeology as a field—I’d never thought of space junk in those terms, but obviously it makes sense to do so—and this vignette looks at that built environment decaying as part of nature.

The Antihumanist 3rd Edition cover art
Cover art by Zuzanna

Award eligibility post

It’s that time of year again. Like so many other authors, I’d like to present a rundown of work that came out in 2021. If you are nominating for the Hugo, Astounding, Nebula, Stoker, Locus, or any of the other awards out there, I’d appreciate your consideration. For purposes of awards restricted by geography, national citizenship, etc., I’m in the United States, specifically Pennsylvania.

Astounding Award: I’m in my second (and final) year of eligibility for this Not-A-Hugo award for new writers. Like the Hugos, it’s voted on by members of Worldcons 79, 80, and 81 (aka DisCon II, Chicon 8, and a con/location to be decided in December). My eligibility clock started in 2020 with my first short story publication at professional rates. (Eligibility requirements can be a bit hard to determine from the outside, as they involve factors like pay rates, print runs, net income, etc. The Astounding Award website lists some of the eligible authors.)

“Always an After” (approx. 3,250 words) appears in In Somnio: A Collection of Modern Gothic Horror, edited by Alex Woodroe and published by Tenebrous Press. The anthology is available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon, Godless, and Tenebrous. (You can also watch me read the opening of the story in this video.)

“Now and Then and Back Again: A Play of Three Acts” (approx. 2,200 words) appears in The Chorochronos Archives, edited by Jessica Augustsson and published by JayHenge Publishing. The anthology is available as an ebook, paperback, or hardcover from Amazon, Bookshop, and other retailers.

“Wayfinding” (approx. 1,800 words) appears in Underland Arcana 4 (Fall 2021), edited by Mark Teppo, and is free to read online.

“Family Dinner” (approx. 200 words) appears in Underland Arcana 3 (Summer 2021), edited by Mark Teppo, and is free to read online.

“Honey and Apples” (100 words) appears in Martian: The Magazine of Science Fiction Drabbles, edited by Eric Fomley, and is free to read online.

Audio: I also had two stories included in podcasts. “Coffin Bell” was part of The NoSleep Podcast‘s Suddenly Shocking Vol. 13, available to season pass holders. CB Droege’s reading of “Kill Switch” for Manawaker Studio’s Flash Fiction Podcast is available for free online. (Note that while the audio performances are new, the text of both stories was previously published. “Coffin Bell” was published in 2019 on the Patreon site I scrapped. “Kill Switch” originally appeared in Daily Science Fiction in 2020.)

And that was my 2021 output. Whether you end up liking my stuff or preferring other folks’ work, I wish you happy reading and nominating!

Release day for In Somnio

Okay, it’s been a bit of a staged release. I know some folks have already received physical copies and ebooks were available last week, but now the anthology is available for everyone in every format. The publisher, Tenebrous Press, has trade paperbacks; Godless and Amazon have ebooks. If you’re in the mood for Gothic feels, check it out, and I hope you enjoy my story “Always an After.”

In Somnio cover
Cover art by Sally Contirino

“Wayfinding”: Underland Arcana

My short story “Wayfinding” appears in Issue 4 of Underland Arcana. It’s a sort-of ghost story about cities, people, history, and memory. The story is free to read on the website, or you can click over to Amazon to buy the .mobi or paperback.

Underland Arcana Issue 4 cover

Publication was actually at the beginning of the month. Let’s all just say that I intentionally held off on posting until it was almost Halloween, rather than because I have dropped a number of balls over the past few weeks.

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.