Blog Archives

It’s Award Season! (aka “Here’s What I Published This Year!”)

Greetings friends, bots, and errant Twitter exiles!

As is tradition in the SF/F writing world, when the nominations for the Nebula awards open, we list off the stuff we wrote this year on the odd chance somebody with some kind of clout or pull notices us, remembers that story we wrote, and BANG, we make the ballot. This is very similar to buying raffle tickets at your local rotary club function, albeit with much lower chances of success and vastly fewer opportunities to score basketball tickets.

That said, I had a pretty good year for short fiction, and I’d like to advertise my work a bit, so listen up:

First up (and most recent) is my short story “Tithe the Bones, Sell the Blood” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies #368

This one has the distinction of being able to be read online for free, so go and check it out right now if you haven’t. I am a big fan of BCS and have been trying to score a sale there for years – very pleased with this dark fantasy tale.

Then, back in August, my short story “Like Manna from Heaven Dark” in Zombies Need Brains’ Brave New Worlds anthology.

This is my second story to appear in ZNB anthologies and it has been a great experience both times. This particular one is a very dark tale of the future of space colonization, involving space pirates and a debate about a very particular kind of cannibalism.

In July was my most recent Faceless short story in the July/August issue of Analog: “Punctuated Equilibrium”

It seems I’m writing a series of linked short stories over on Analog, all involving a shape-shifting assassin “named” Faceless and its various adventures. I am loving these tales and I hope you are too!

In May, another Faceless story in the May/June Analog: “Proof of Concept”

This one has Faceless with a ravaged memory on a space ship full of violent aliens and no answers! Wheeee! These were my 4th and 5th appearances in this magazine, and I’m super excited every time I make its pages!

Finally, in January I published my story “Prison Colony Optimization Protocols” in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

I’m particularly proud of this one – about a rogue AI who is sentenced to administer and prison colony – and it was my 3rd appearance in F&SF. January is a long time back, though, so I hope people haven’t forgotten it! I even made the cover!

Anyway, that’s about it for this year! 5 stories, all in pro markets–go me! I’m very proud of all of them and hope you will give them some consideration!Thanks and good luck to all my fellow writers out there!

WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE – Available Now (and other writing news)

Hi, everyone!

I realize it’s been a while since I’ve posted here, but it’s been a challenging few months, to say the least (and maybe more on that later). I’m here now to do a little bit of plugging and give a few writing updates:

WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE, available now!

Get it now!

First things first, my short story “The Malevolent Liberation of Pret” is part of the wonderful new anthology from Zombies Need Brains titled WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE. That story is my take on a member of a post-singularity collectivist society realizing their interest/attraction to more individualized existence. I’m halfway through reading the anthology now and I’ve really enjoyed the stories – I’m in very good company and I heartily recommend checking out the whole thing. You can buy it here.

 

Other Sales!

I’ve also sold four (yes, four) other stories to pro markets recently, which is great given my lull in sales for the past year. They are to the following venues:

  • “Planned Obsolescence” to Galaxy’s Edge
  • “Proof of Concept” to Analog Science Fiction and Fact
  • “Prison Colony Optimization Protocols” to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • “Epic Troll” to Humans Are the Problem, an anthology of monster tales from Weird Little Worlds

Now, I’m not sure when these various stories are coming out, per se – I’ll let you know when I know – but it’s exciting, to say the least.

Future Work?

I’ve got a number of irons in the fire right now. I’ve got a time travel caper novel on submission (think Loki, but with 70s Boston gangsters), another novel getting ready to go on submission (a space opera featuring a shape-shifting assassin), a bunch of stories still out there working their way through slush piles, and another invitation to write a story for a Zombies Need Brains anthology next year (I’ll let you all know when the kickstarter goes live!). I’m also writing another novel right now, still in its early drafting stages (it’s a humorous contemporary fantasy novel).

In other words, I hope to give all of you a lot more things to read, and soon. For now, keep an eye out for me in your favorite scifi mags and buy WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE now!

Speaking is Believing (article on The Astounding Analog Companion)

Read my article on the short story in this magazine! It’s free (the article, not the story).

As I’ve mentioned, my short story “Applied Linguistics” is currently for sale as part of the January/February issue of Analog Science Fact and Fiction magazine. As a companion to my story, I wrote a little blog post for the Astounding Analog Companion all about how language influences and even defines our sense of self and purpose. I’m fairly proud of it, and it’s always nice to get the opportunity to wax philosophical about what I’m trying to achieve or explore in any one of my stories. I thank Analog a lot for the opportunity!

Anyway, if you’re interested, go ahead and check it out. I now return you to your regularly scheduled internet.

 

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Actually, just one more thing!

I’m going to be appearing at Boskone this February 15th-17th in my home town, Boston! Me and hundreds of other professional writers, editors, agents, and so on will be converging for what promises to be a great convention! I’ll be posting my full schedule for the event closer to the date, but I’d love to see you there!

Join me at Boskone (February 15-17, 2019) in Boston, MA for New England’s longest running science fiction and fantasy convention. It’s going to be a fun weekend filled with discussions of books, art, games, film, music, and more. For more information, visit the Boskone website: http://www.boskone.org/

Read “Applied Linguistics” in this month’s Analog Science Fiction and Fact

Hi, everybody!

I’ve got a new story out! Check out “Applied Linguistics” in the Jan/Feb 2019 issue of Analog! It’s available online or in print form, and I’m pretty damned proud of it – it’s about language and learning and how cultural context can change, inform, or even create behavior and self-knowledge. And shape-shifting aliens on alien prison planets, so that’s cool, too!

There are a lot of other very cool stories by very talented authors in there, too. I especially liked “Ring Wave” by Tom Jolly and Adam-Troy Castro’s latest Draiken tale was a lot of fun. Check it out – you won’t regret it!

My Writing Summer (Thus Far)

One of the truisms of being a writer is that you never, ever feel as though you are working hard enough. You could always be writing – you should always be writing – and everything else you do can quickly seem a mere distraction.

Like this, but with a laptop.

For me, my most important productive period is during the summer, when I am not teaching, not grading tons of student work, and not prepping for my four classes each semester. From May until late August, I write as much as I possibly can (while also doing some work for my day job, but that doesn’t involve teaching or grading).

I get a lot done in the summer. I just have to watch the altitude of my colleagues’ eyebrows steadily rise as I tell them how much I’ve done. But it never feels that way to me because there is so much I have left undone.

So, in the interest of enhancing my own sanity, I am going to list off the things I have completed, sold, or published this summer. This is not meant to make people feel bad about their own production – just remember that I produce just about nothing between the months of September and April, and hopefully you’ll feel better.

I’ve Written:

Like this, but while scribbling in a notebook.

1 Novel Rough Draft: The Day It All Went Sideways – A Novel (~85,000 words)

3 Short Stories: “Life in Death, Death in Life” (~6000 words), “Three Gowns for Clara” (~6000 words), “The Dragon’s 13th Virgin” (~6000 words)

3 Op-Ed Pieces: one for Analog’s blog, 2 for Stupefying Stories’ blog, a total of about 4000 words.

Blog Posts: I’m not sure how many, but about one a week – so perhaps ten of them? They average about 1000 words apiece, too.

I’ve Published:

1 Novelette: “A Crystal Dipped in Dreams” in the July/August issue of Analog

2 Op-Ed Pieces: the one mentioned above in Analog and one of the ones in Stupefying Stories. The second one for Stupefying should be out soon.

I’ve Sold:

1 Flash Story: “What the Plague Did To Us” to Galaxy’s Edge

1 Short Story: “Applied Linguistics” to Analog

So, in total, I’ve written between 115,000-117,000 words and published or sold a total of 5-6 other works. That is a respectable amount of work. I should be proud of it. I am proud of it.

Like this, but with me running dialogue in my head.

But the fall is returning. I’m getting e-mails talking about syllabi and meetings I have to attend. The real world is invading again. I may be able to tick these numbers up a bit more before the end, but not by much.

But that’s okay. I’m still working. I haven’t failed to do anything I set out to do this summer. And there’s always semester break and next summer. Anything I didn’t finish will keep. I press on.

Maybe your word count is lower than mine, and maybe it’s higher. But the whole point here is that it isn’t about word count. It’s about setting goals and achieving them and being satisfied with yourself. I struggle with it – all writers do – but you need to take the time and appreciate what you’ve done. Give yourself permission to congratulate yourself. You deserve it.

Now, back to writing.

 

“Are We Gonna Make It” – an article on the Astounding Analog Companion

Hey, folks! I mentioned a few weeks back that I had a story in this month’s Analog (on newsstands now!), but I’m back to tell you that I have an article up on their blog right now which is probably the closest thing to an academic paper I’ve written in a long while (and it is very, very far from an actual academic paper). Check it out here! It’s all about optimism and pessimism in post-apocalyptica!

Click to see what I think of this picture!

The Folly of Self-Rejection

Fear of rejection is a real, palpable thing. It keeps people from doing all kinds of things. Hell, it kept me from asking a girl out on a date until I was 18. Everybody fears having their hopes dashed.

In the writing biz, this fear is especially pronounced. You pour so much of yourself into your work, you dream of its potential success, but when it comes time to push it out the door, you hesitate. What if nobody wants it? What if they hate it? The pain at having to face the fact that your stories aren’t as wonderful as you hoped is so terrifying, some people never take their stuff out of their drawer/hard drive.

Learn to cope with this. You can do it.

To be a published writer at all, you have to push past this. After a while, you grow accustomed to rejection. It always stings, it’s always a disappointment, but you understand that a rejection is not necessarily a reflection of your self-worth or talent or potential. There are lots and lots of reasons editors reject stories and manuscripts, and not all of them have to do with the quality of said manuscript. Sometimes they just bought something very similar to what you just wrote. Sometimes they can’t accommodate a story of that length. Sometimes they just don’t personally get it, even though some other editor might. And sometimes the story in question, wonderful though it is, is “just not right for this market.”

This is where we fall into the rabbit hole of self-rejection.

Self-rejection is what happens when you assume a market won’t buy a story and so you never send it at all. You look at the kind of stuff they publish, you don’t see how you’d fit (it’s too good, it’s not like your stuff, it’s not the kind of thing you do, etc.), and so you don’t even bother. The thing is, though, that this is routinely a mistake. So long as your story adheres to the submission guidelines (i.e. don’t send a graphic horror piece to a YA scifi market) and it is the best you can do, just send it. I’ve talked to a lot of editors over the years, and all of them tell me one thing: Just send it. Let us do the rejecting. Let us decide if it’s right for us or not.

Now, I know what you’re saying: “You’re kidding me. They want more submissions? Don’t they get, like, hundred and hundreds?”

Well yeah, they do, but they also want good stories. Right now I am assuming that you’re pretty good at this writing thing. You’ve done your homework, you’ve taken your craft seriously, you’ve revised and revised again. You are of professional caliber – you know it in your bones. Put your Impostor Syndrome aside for a second and remind yourself that you’re good enough for this. Assuming this is all true, then you are already stepping ahead of literally thousands of people who have not done their homework and don’t take their craft seriously and who haven’t bothered to revise and revise again. You’re already near the top.

So send it! Go ahead! The worst that you get is a “no.” And a “no” there doesn’t mean a “no” everywhere. Keep submitting. Keep going.

I’m going to tell you a little story here to conclude: About 4 or 5 years ago, when I had only a few semipro sales and not much to show for it, I wrote a short story called “A Crystal Dipped in Dreams.” It’s a post-apocalyptic piece, but an optimistic one. I submitted it to The Writers of the Future Award and it was one of the finalists, but it didn’t win and was never published. Disappointed, but certain that it would sell soon, I started subbing it out.

It was rejected again and again and again and, honestly, I eventually gave up. The only place I hadn’t sent it was Analog Science Fiction and Fact and they seem partial to hard scifi and more classic stuff than this was. I figured they wouldn’t want it.

Fast-foward to this past February, I was going through old stories that hadn’t sold but that I thought were good, just to see if there were any submissions I didn’t make. I came across this one and figured “what the hell” and subbed it to Analog. I guessed it would be a reject – the story just seemed wrong for them – but guess what? It sold! I just signed the contract today, marking my second sale to Analog and my sixth pro-story sale overall. Just goes to show what I know!

And what I didn’t know, you don’t either. Submit!

 

Read This Month’s Analog to Read My Latest Story!

Look for the cover that looks like this!

Look for the cover that looks like this!

Hey, everybody! I’m back! Bad news first:  I didn’t finish everything I wanted to in the summer. Good News: I have a short story out in Analog‘s November 2014 issue, available now! Check it out here! 

Presumably, at some point there will be hard copies for sale somewhere (at least I *think* so), or maybe you need to buy a subscription, but whatever. If you have a Kindle or similar e-reader (which at this point includes everybody except my mom) go and read my story “Mercy, Killer” in there! You’ll like it, I promise (oh, and being one of the top scifi markets in the business, the other stories are pretty good, too).

Stay tuned for more actual content on this blog in the coming weeks. For now, you’ll have to settle for going out into the world and reading my fiction. Life is hard sometimes.

 

New Short Fiction in Stupefying Stories 1.13

Check it out!

Check it out!

Hello! It’s just me, popping in temporarily during my blog-hiatus to update you on more publishing news from Yours Truly. At long last, my story “The Great Work of Meister VanHocht” is released in the 13th volume of Stupefying Stories. The story is some of my best work, I think, so I hope you read it. Also, for those of you fascinated in my world of Alandar (yes, both of you!), the story is set in the city of Eddon and deals with golemsmithing.

Anywho, you can read it (and all the other wonderful stories in the volume) on Kindle by going here.   

Also, for those of you looking to read more stuff by me, check out the “Where Can You Find My Stuff” tab in the sidebar to the right of this post. It has links to all my publications/honors thus far.

What it doesn’t include, of course, is the stuff yet to be released. Stay tuned for my story “Mercy, Killer” in next month’s issue of Analog, the release my novel The Oldest Trick, Part 1 early next year, and of course my short story “A Revolutionary’s Guide to Practical Conjuration” in The Writers of the Future Anthology, Volume 31, to be released next year.

Thanks, and now back to revising. See you all again soon, I hope!

Writing Updates!

wizard_bookAs an addendum to my last post this week, which referred to a couple acceptances at various magazines, let me give you good folks a few specifics, more or less. Working under the assumption you care one way or another about my writing career, of course.

Update #1

My story “The Great Work of Meister VanHocht,” accepted by Stupefying Stories a couple months back, is nearing publication, potentially as early as September.

Update #2

My story “Dreamflight of the Katatha”, accepted in Deepwood Publishing’s Ways of Magic anthology, is slated to get edited sometime in September, as well. Hopefully the book will be out a month or two after that. This story deals with the world of Nyxos, which I am in the process of developing for a potential novel and more short stories in the future.

Update #3

I landed my short story “Partly Petrified” – a Tyvian Reldamar tale involving a heist gone wrong and a haywire wand of petrification – for publication by Sword and Laser in their upcoming anthology. Also good stuff.

Update #4

Now for the really big news: I landed my story “Mercy, Killer” with Analog Science Fiction and Fact just last week. For those of you who don’t know, Analog is one of the oldest and most prestigious short fiction markets for scifi in the business. Stared in the 1930s as Astounding SF, Analog has discovered folks like Robert Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Anne McCaffrey, and Frank Herbert. They’ve won a mountain of Hugos over the years and the Campbell Award is named after their original editor. Getting a story in there is tough and I’m immensely pleased that I pulled it off. It means a lot. It means that, on some level, I do in fact know what I’m doing.

It may be a few months before any of this stuff actually makes print, but fear not – I will gladly be tooting my own horn about the whole thing when it happens.

On top of all that, I still have two novels (The Oldest Trick and The Rubric of All Things) under consideration by Harper Voyager, a host of short stories submitted to various markets, large and small, and I’m now about 2/3s of the way through a new novel, Lych, about a Russian lych hiding out in Boston’s South End and how a nosy medical student blows his cover and causes untold mayhem. Anyway, things proceed well, and I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. There is, of course, nothing else I would rather do.