speculative fiction

What’s Up Wednesday

Hello lovely readers, and happy Wednesday! I’m peeking in mid-week to wave hello, and to talk a little more about what’s up in my writerly world. This year saw the release of my sci-fi novella Temporary Duty Assignment and prequel story Nice, both from The Book Smugglers. It was such a joy to be a part of the Book Smugglers Publishing Novella Initiative, and I learned a lot from writing and editing that piece. I have begun a new multimedia fiction and poetry project, Kudzu, with Pine Float Press…eerie southern gothic and memories of the place where I grew up feed these shadowy journeys. I also have been teasing a new project, which I’ll share more details about this week–it’s another novella enterprise, but this time I’m switching from a gritty post-apocalyptic megacity to a steam age world powered by magitech. In the Metro world, Sam’s Nightbringer served her well protecting Caleb and the Greenerhouse Compound in Temporary Duty Assignment and now it will be so much fun for me to show off mechmage Jeron North, a character from my new project, wielding a lightning scepter to great (and electrifying) effect.

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Of course, where there is steam-powered magitech there must be airships and in my current manuscript I’m laying the groundwork for a world where flight is newly-discovered, and where magic is an everyday occurrence. I’ll blog more about this soon, along with a cover reveal but in the meantime, thanks to my followers, and enormous thanks to all readers who have found and enjoyed my work! Here’s wishing you the loveliest of days…be well! <3

 

Robin McKinley Said It So Well-A #FridayReads Quick-Post.

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!

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My Newest Contract, and Transmissions: A Serial Fiction Project

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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

Luminous Release–My Heartfelt Thanks!

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

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The Luminous Cover Is Here! And MORE!

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 @executeyk, or look at more of Yasmin’s lovely work here on Tumblr–so rad!

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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

Luminous, Almost Night and Making Monsters

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…

http---www.pixteller.com-pdata-t-l-130610 (1)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

14444I’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:

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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.