So often, I feel like what I am, what I do, how I exist is not enough in wake of the Big Bad in this world. Then I remember a quote from Sunshine by Robin McKinley, one of my favorite reads of all time and something I’m planning to treat myself to re-reading for #FridayReads after some editing. We must use what we are given, and we must use it the best we can. I hope this Friday finds us all using what we have and being who we are as best we can to make the world brighter, kinder, and more full of win. Happy Friday!
Last week, The Book Smugglers officially released my story Luminous on their site and through a variety of retailers in addition to the Amazon release. So many people have said wonderful and interesting things about the piece that it’s mind-boggling. The feedback, ya’ll–it’s been AMAZING. I am humbled by the warm reception my words have found out there in the big wide world, and I’m deeply thankful to all of you who have taken the time to read, comment, tweet, share, or review. The discussions around my story and the diverse and extremely thought-provoking reviews I’m seeing make me remember why I started writing in the first place. I never dreamed this experience would be so awesome. From Plastic Skeleton George and me, we offer you thanks from the bottom of our comically giant plastic hearts–seriously, I am thankful beyond what I can articulate without resorting to Porky-Pig blathering and interpretive dance. <3
I am so over-the-moon to share this awesomeness with the world! The absolutely stunning cover for my sci-fi romance, Luminous, is out there and shining in all its glory. YA’LL, YOU HAVE TO COME SEE THIS! *____* The art is everything I could have wanted and more I didn’t even realize I would adore. Yasmin Khudari has given my characters and world so much beautiful life in her cover art. West and Jyothi are PEFECT! You can check her out on Twitter as @, or look at more of Yasmin’s lovely work here on Tumblr–so rad!
But there’s even MORE news–and I promise you, I’m exploding into glitter as I write this–Luminous is now available for purchase on Amazon. WOO! IT’S ALIIIIIIIIIIIVE! Click here for the Book Smugglers’ official cover release post. If you want to purchase a copy–and oh please pretty please, I hope you do–it’s available exclusively on Kindle here. You’ll get the story itself, an essay about what inspired/influenced me to write it in the first place, the The Book Smugglers patented awesome author interview, and a lovely note from Yasmin Khudari, the mad-talented cover artist. ALL THE EXTRAS! Thank you to the Book Smugglers for allowing me this opportunity to realease
the Kraken my work into the world. And to all who readers who take the time to engage, you have my luminous gratitude (it looks kinda like the light from a yellow dwarf star). <3
Salut, denizens of Terra, this third planet from Sol! Things have been busy for this human citizen lately. For REASONS. So I’ll just get right down to this updatey thing…
I’m happy to announce that next Monday, 7/13 (ONE WEEK FROM NOW ZOMG), I’ll be rolling out the cover reveal for Luminous, my piece to be included in The Book Smugglers’ First Contact series. This is so exciting, ya’ll! The pieces from the collection I’ve read so far are thoroughly for the WIN, and I’m proud to be a part of this fantastic roster. I’ll be sharing the cover and hype for Luminous starting Monday 7/13 and I promise you, I am so excited to foist this story and everything about it up on the world! >:-D
I’m also stoked to announce that Almost Night, a collection of my creppy! spoopy! poetry will be available from Pine Float Press this fall. I’ll announce the publication date when it’s set, but for now, Sean Demory of Pine Float has released a teaser poem from the collection, and oh, sweet world, be wary. I’ll talk about the collection in more detail later, but for now know that poems of creeping dread snaking like kudzu over the seemingly mundane trappings of suburbia will hit (virtual and otherwise) shelves during the waning of this 2015 year and I could not be more pleased (nor can the eldritch horrors commanding the project into existence in the first place, ha, jk, really, sorta, heh…).
And now, I present to you, How To Make A Monster: Basic Recipe, a teaser from Almost Night:
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.
For 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.
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.
When 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.
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.
Being 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.
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
I 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.
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:
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
The 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!
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.
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!
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
Forgive me, but I must squee. And run around in circles, and drop-kick Care Bears to the moon and ride off on my robo-pegacorn into a forever made of rainbows…
The Book Smugglers have announced their upcoming First Contact Anthology and I’m honored to be among the authors included in the lineup. You can find the official announcement here (link will open in new window). If you’ve not read their other anthology, Retold: Six Fairytales Reimagined, I recommend nabbing a copy (and it’s on sale right now, woo!). Each offering is imaginatively and beautifully-crafted. And oh my goodness, the cover art! O.O
The First Contact series kicks off in May, and continues with new releases throughout the summer and ya’ll, you should read them all. My story, Luminous, will be available 7/21/2015. I’ll be sure to
bug you with millions of excited tweets and posts and so much squee everywhere keep you posted!
Thanks for tuning in…I’ll be over here doing my most awkward, elbow-flailing happy-dance EVAR.