sci-fi

Book Birthday/Birthday Week…yay!

TDA_FrontCover (1)Salut, all! I hope you are thriving as well as you can these days. This week has been a sky-full-of-lights, all-hands-on-deck busy week for me, WHEW. /collapses

My new sci-fi novella Temporary Duty Assignment is finally out in the world, waiting to be read, to find a home on your shelf or nestled amongst the other lovely e-books on your reader of choice. I would be honored if you bought it…what greater compliment to a writer than purchasing her work? You can order it by clicking on the link above, or find other versions on The Book Smugglers site! <3

You can also read about what inspired me to write this novella and create this world over on The Book Smugglers site where my Inspirations and Influences essay awaits if you are curious and need perhaps that extra little nudge before buying the book. Check it out–you know you wanna! <3

It’s also my birthday today…I’m 42! You know, that amazing number? The one Douglas Adams wrote about? The answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything? I was too bombarded/blasted/tie-tie/zzzzzzzzz to have a party this week, birthday or book birthday, but I want to celebrate amidst some messed up, crazy, enormous things going on in my country and the world. I want to celebrate my hope that things can be better. I want to celebrate my fervent wish that maybe, at 42, I can finally start to chip away on that whole life/the universe/everything quandary and make some sense of it all. Wish me well, dear readers…I would like that so very much.

pow

Thank you as ever for reading, for supporting my work and here is wishing you a safe, relaxing and kind weekend! <3

Newsday Tuesday: An Announcement!

Hello, all…happy Tuesday to you lovelies! Since Tuesday rhymes with news-day, I’ve decided to announce today that my short story Nice will be appearing in next edition of The Book Smugglers’ Quarterly Almanac! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO! *ahem* Nice will introduce an exciting new sci-fi world and set in motion the events that go down in my upcoming sci-fi romance novella T.D.A., coming in July of this year. I cannot tell you how excited I am, so I must include a moment for internal Carlton Dancing.

YdmGHYG

*Ahem* again. In preparation for this exciting new story, which is among my favorite things I have EVER written and maybe even my Patronus, I have opted to do teaser art of one of Nice‘s characters. Kind folks, meet Lukka:

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Lukka keeps company with shell casings, apparently.

I’ll announce more details, including a cover reveal for T.D.A. (it’s AMAZING and I am not even one tiny bit joking), and availability dates. Thank you as ever for reading and I hope you have a beautiful day! <3

Strangers–Quote of the Day

Writing sci-fi romance, speculative fiction and sci-fi poetry reminds me time and time again of how I am reaching for light-trails, dreaming through life and living the questions, as Rilke would have it–how I am exploring my realities through narratives. Here’s wishing you all a week full of big, beautiful dreams and luminous realities!

strangers

My Newest Contract, and Transmissions: A Serial Fiction Project

transmissions

Hello, space cadets. Another year is off to a…start, and new years can mean new projects. I have some exciting things on the horizon, I’m happy to say!

I am so incredibly happy, over-the-moon and SQUEEEEEEEEE *ahem* pleased to announce that The Book Smugglers will be publishing my not quite as sekrit project of win, a sci-fi novella due out in Fall 2017! Stay tuned for more details on this Big Good Thing in my writing world!

I’m also crazy-excited to tell you about my new online weird/short/ephemeral fiction endeavor, Transmissions, a Tumblr blog centering around the mysterious fate of Aegis Coalition’s deep space exploration flagship Omid and her crew. The project is serialized and multi-media–an amalgamation of imagery, fiction, poetry, and whatever else is needed to get the job done. You can find the project on Tumblr at https://aeashtransmissions.tumblr.com/. Please stop by, take a look, and if you like it, follow and check in for weekly updates.

I hope you are all faring as well as you can–In the meantime, I’m over here sending light, love and hope for gentleness and equanimity out into the world. <3

Slow Boat Part Two: Meet the Contributors

Hello again, stalwart and brave readers! Welcome to the second part of the Pine Float Press Slow Boat to Fast City blogstravaganza. Ugh. Blogstravaganza? Horrible word.

In this installment, I asked each of the contributors to the anthology to tell me a little bit about why they chose to write about what they did. Sean’s submission call was high-concept–Martian Chronicles, raygun pulp, red dust…but within those suggestions, each of us had a lot of room to work.

War Paint–My contribution.

Nance hasn’t been herself lately. The dime-a-dance girl and pride of the steno pool has been having visions. Visions of coal-black eyes and things in the darkness, visions of blood and conquest. Whispers to wait. Wait.

product_thumbnailFor me, I chose to write War Paint because I couldn’t help but think about all the normal, work-a-day folks just keeping the machine running–dockhands, engineers, enlisted grunts, and yes–tired saloon girls working a slow boat’s voyage away in this strange and alien world. I loved the idea of the very world itself slowly, quietly enveloping the interlopers…hive minds that ease their poisons through human pores, and even slower, almost dreamy changes that cloud the mind gently–a darkening of the light in that corner, or a skitter just out of a showgirl’s line of vision. And when the usurping is complete, the usurped doesn’t know–or care–what hit her. This was fantastic, fun project and I can’t wait to write more.

War Paint: EpubChapbook

Marshall Edwards, author of Patton Sea Raiders

A man without a country. A mysterious package. “The Patton Sea Raiders” paints a picture of a ramshackle space-age Mars where answers are the only thing more dangerous than questions.

product_thumbnail (1)4343When Sean pitched “Slow Boat to Fast City”, I was already familiar with his world-building chops. Last year I wrote a story about a high-tech vigilante in his “gasping Rust Belt city” setting. The setting was engaging and Sean was pleased with my piece, so signing on with “Slow Boat” was a no-brainer!
I was listening to Edgar Rice Borroughs’ John Carter series for the first time when Sean told me about the project. I started painting my Mars in rust-red crags, yellow-red dust, cigarette smoke, and the blue-black bands of night. I used Sean’s jazzy noir hook to get me rolling and merged his post-war pulp with just a dash of Burrows’ mythology. I wrote the first scene first – a road-weary protagonist, a MacGuffin, and a shakedown in a shady little bar. Once the setting was laid out and the story began, I just had to ride it through to the end.

Patton Sea Raiders: EpubChapbook

Orrin Grey, author of The House of Mars

Police find three bodies in an abandoned house in the Hollywood Hills. One wakes up. Straddling the boundary between dream and nightmare, fantasy and reality, “The House of Mars” tells the story of one burned-out detective’s investigation into a mystery that transcends time and space. Police find three bodies in an abandoned house in the Hollywood Hills. One wakes up. That’s just the beginning.

34343434343434343Being asked to contribute to Slow Boat was outside of my comfort zone, both in that it was a shared-world anthology, which I’d never done, and a lot more science fictional than is my usual beat. But I’ve always been a big fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Mars stories, and I wanted to play with something in that vein, while still keeping with the noir tone that the anthology was going for, and also not writing something that would be completely out of place alongside the rest of my fiction. The result was my Burroughs-by-way-of-L.A. Confidential story, “The House of Mars,” which also managed to bring in some Golden Age Hollywood, because that’s my jam.

House of Mars: EpubChapbook

Steven Saunders, author of Grüne Reich, Grüne Hölle

Jens Vogt is a cold warrior on a hot planet, a holdout raised from childhood to wage a Venusian guerrilla war against the Allies for the glory of the Reich. Follow Jens as he fights against the alien predators of Venus in the first chapter of Steven G. Saunders’ upcoming novella

123I have been friends with Sean for a long, long time. Several years, at least. More than that, probably. We started talking in earnest way back during my year on All The Rage (*waves to the few angry comic nerds who remember me*) and have had a pretty solid friendship since. I love working with Sean on things, so when he mentioned this Buck Rogers meets Barsoom meets Raygun Gothic anthology, I just had to jump on. I felt honored that Sean would ask me to be a part of such a mindblowing pool of talent. A pool of talent that ensures my contribution is the weakest of the lot– hey, I might be serious! Thing is, everyone on this anthology has been awesome, and the whole experience worth savoring every second of. Naturally, I had to go against the grain and set my story in the jungles of alt-1958’s Venus, complete with Viet Cong-like Nazis and frog people. But Sean was a mensch about the whole idea and told me to run with it, and Jens and his story was born.

Inspirationally, I grew up in Germany, for starters. As an American living in a village full of WWII vets and civilians from that time, and considering it was near where the Battle of Aachen and more happened, a lot of history and the German perspective was pumped into me. Shit, this is a slippery slope without explaining, but don’t worry, I hate the Nazis. It doesn’t mean they can’t be protagonists in a story, though, especially young, foolish, myopically skewed youngsters who are jungle fighting the long-ago enemies of the Reich on Venus. I honestly don’t know why I wanted to write “Grüne Reich, Grüne Hölle”, especially with a German title, complete with umlauts! But Sean had faith in me to expand on one corner of his universe-baby that no one was touching yet (aside from a few notes Sean gave me). If you’re curious, the title literally translates to “Green Kingdom, Green Hell”, which I assume makes a lot more sense once you dive into the tale. With the main characters, Jens Vogt and Schneider, we get action, adventure, and the requisite disillusionment we would expect from a young man and woman fighting in the verdant, sweltering death jungles of our sister world.

Other inspirations included the wars in Indochina (including, of course, the Vietnam War), the Germans in World War I (including their actions and colonies in Asia and Africa), the original idea behind a certain frogish people in a popular “grimdark” RPG/Wargame setting/s, Arthur Machen, “Dispatches”, Sean’s notes, and more. It really was a blast to work on, and I look forward to seeing what people think of the other stories brewing and fulminating in my brain and exiting violently upon the page where Jens et al are concerned. Should be a fun ride.

Oh, and before I forget, I also was inspired to write a soundtrack for the book. I largely blame Sean (as one does) and his Big Idea was so great, and seeing what the other lovely contributors were doing, I simply couldn’t help myself. It’s a weird mix of fusion jazz, retro future, odd disco, analog noises, somber piano, and lots more. Hopefully no one hates, and hey, maybe some of you out there will actually like it.

Grüne Reich, Grüne Hölle:  Epub

Thanks for reading, all–and remember, you can buy Slow Boat to Fast City starting today in Epub and both retail and Lulu paperbacks–you won’t regret it. No, really. YOU WON’T. It’s forbidden to regret. Regretting has…consequences.

Sidereal

I’m so excited to note that my poem Sidereal is live in the ever-wonderful Apex Magazine…WOO!

I loved writing this piece even more than most. I’d been playing a lot of Mass Effect, reading sci-fi and space opera, watching Star Trek: Voyager, and dreaming about a quietly empty, regenerating, far-ish but not too far-future earth when most humans have gone elsewhere…the constellations the same as ever, the earth fallow, waiting to thrive again with water reclamation plants and careful tending. And in the muted night, an Operator and a Specialist tending the machines that coax the world back to health–a soldier and an engineer in a quiet and generative love.

I remember once hearing someone going on about how romance has no place in science fiction and fantasy writing. That got a legit lol from me–as long as I’m writing about humanity, I’ll do my damnedest to create well-rounded and believable human characters. We (humans) love fervently and dangerously and quietly and unwisely and well; we form attachments, friendships, rivalries, and ultimately rely upon one another when things get dangerous or weird. If anything, these relationships and attachments in fiction make for life-rich characters with hella motivation to do what they do in moving a narrative forward. Now, I don’t expect alien species, every artificial intelligence, or other life-forms in speculative fiction and poetry to behave the way humans do–not unless it’s part of how the writer has imagined the species and world. But my favorite science fiction, space opera, fantasy, anything-I’m-reading humanoid characters often act from places of emotion, making decisions because of their human attachments. And yes, sometimes they fall in love. Exploration of this humanness is why Sidereal was such a joy for me to write–I reveled in exploring how two people in this future full of extensive tech and galactic conquest could grow close in the framework of lonely, dangerous, and sometimes painfully exacting work.

So, readers…any sci-fi romances out there that make you swoon and rock your galaxy? I’d love to hear about them!

hearty

Ginormous, Largehuge Updates Post

Good morning, space cadets. It’s so Monday in here…and time for a GIANT updates post. Things are busy. In fact, I can hear Sabre Dance playing in the background while I try to catch the falling plates. That said, here’s what’s going on in my writing world:

Lian commission FINAL blue

Lian, by Charminglyantiquated

My poem Sidereal will be in the next issue of Apex Magazine. It’s sci-fi poemy goodness, so look for it in the next issue releasing Tuesday, May 5th! In other awesome writerly news, I commissioned the lovely charminglyantiquated, one of my favorite artists, to paint Lian from my story Daughter of the Sun, available through Luna Station Quarterly. Needless to say, she ROCKED it and I am going to frame it and keep it forever and ever and ever. <3

wpThe lovely Lulu chapbooks for War Paint, my story in Slow Boat to Fast City, arrived and they are GORGEOUS. Sean Demory wrangled up all of us locals this past weekend to sign the backer reward copies for his recent  Kickstarter campaign. I’ll just say this–Pine Float Press is definitely one to watch. Demory has a knack for assembling an eclectic and effective mix of talented writers  and this is true for Slow Boat to Fast City, a raygun gothic 50’s AU Mars anthology. It’s remarkable, get-under-your-skin-and-stay-there stuff that I’m way proud to be a part of! I’ll be interviewing Sean Demory, Pine Float Press and the Slow Boat project’s nefarious engineer in a future posts so watch this space!

ahsoka

just look at these badasses

In the meantime, I’ve got a huge spate of edits crumbling down upon me, which means I want to play more SWTOR and Mass Effect 3 than usual and hide in space opera, sci-fi, and saving the galaxy. I’m also squeezing in episodes of Clone Wars, the animated series when I can and falling head over heels in love with Ahsoka Tano and Asajj Ventress–and I’ve always been in love with Obi-wan, so that doesn’t count. So many of the characters in this show are fully-realized and compelling in ways I had not anticipated and I might just have to blog about this show and just how important and wonderful it is at some point in the not too far future.

pollen

pollen is the DEVIL

In Real Life, things are nutso–pollen is rendering me Queen of the Derps, and I’m just slogging through till this never-ending messy plant nookie goes away.  Seriously–it’s way out of hand. Extracurricular activities abound, of course–I’ll be gearing up to appear at ConQuest, a science fiction/fantasy convention happening here in town. I’ll be joining some other local writers, including authors from the aforementioned Slow Boat anthology and Jen Boles, author of Bringer of Light, in various and sundry panels and even some readings (*hyperventilates into imaginary paper bag*). It’ll be interesting, nerve-wracking, exciting and ultimately, rad. Finally, I’ll be preparing for the release of my story Luminous from The Book Smugglers in July–more info to come!

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Azul, the Daydream Dragon, now with extra sparklies

Upcoming Fun Things include a live Welcome to Night Vale show with a super awesome Bunny friend, my 5-year wedding anniversary (a weekend of gaming, relaxing, reading, movie-marathoning with my awesome hubby), and I’ve even started painting again after several years off (I’m working on learning to art in general). I’ll re-start my monthly Luna Station Quarterly blogs in May–you can look forward to some serious geeking out in the near future. Suffice to say, a lot is going on and it only gets busier from here! I hope all ya’ll readers are doing wonderfully, thriving like the spring flowers and trees making us all sneeze a billion times in a row here in this part of the world. Wishing you well–happy reading, writing, nerding, geeking, gaming, sleeping, or whatever it is you are doing these days! <3