Update: New Story Sale and the Nebulas

News, I have it. So I post.

The first piece of news is that a new story of mine has been accepted by Beneath Ceaseless Skies. It’s called “A Place to Grow” and it was a huge experiment for me because it’s told from the points of view of several different characters. A fictional first for me. Not sure when it’s suppose to come out yet, but I’ll update the “Publications” page when I know.

The second bit of news is that I’ll be attending the Nebula Awards in Pittsburgh this year. It’s my first time at this convention and I’m so excited! There are so many awesome works nominated this year, my final ballot is going to be a tough decision. Which is not exactly a bad problem to have.

That’s it for now. I’ll probably have another post up here soon.

2016 Year End Post

Even in the best of times, these types of posts are always awkward for me to write. And 2016 has been a rough year on many different fronts. It feels a bit selfish to be posting this today (especially today) in the wake of all that’s happening in the world.

But terrible global events shouldn’t negate our small triumphs. So we fight on.

In terms of writing, 2016…hasn’t been bad to me. I had three short stories I’m proud of published in markets I really loved. These stories are:

They Said the DesertBeneath Ceaseless Skies, May 2016

A Non-Hero’s Guide to the Road of MonstersMothership Zeta, May 2016

Dido, RetoldStrange Horizons, September 2016

And as if that wasn’t awesome enough, “A Non-Hero’s Guide to the Road of Monsters” is going to be reprinted in Rich Horton’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017. How cool is that?!!!!

horton-yearsbest2017-cover

(Here’s the full Table of Contents.)

I’m hoping to post a “Fiction I Loved This Year” compilation here soon. Maybe in a few weeks, when I’ve caught up a bit on my “To Be Read” pile.

Special thanks to all my friends who offered encouragement, read rough drafts, and just listened when I was frustrated. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Baltimore Book Festival and New Picture

In an ongoing quest to get better at public speaking, I’m going to be a panelist at this year’s Baltimore Book Festival. It’s located at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor from September 23-25th. I’ll definitely be there Sunday (because that’s when my panels are happening) and possibly Saturday too, just to hang out and help out.

Anyways, here’s my schedule:

  • Short Fiction: The Heart of SFF – Sunday @ 1pm
    • Short works have always been important to science fiction and fantasy. Hear why and how short fiction showcases the best of our genres. Learn where the hot stories are being published, and get answers to all your questions from our panel of acclaimed short fiction writers.
  • Near Future/Far Future – Sunday @ 3pm
    • Look at what goes into science fiction that’s right around the corner versus light years ahead. How are they similar and different?What happens when fiction comes true?

 

In other news, one of my favorite things about becoming a writer is all the wonderful and talented friends I’ve made over the years. For example, my friend Steve Schultz is a writer, but in recent years has picked up photography again, specifically focusing on portraits. He’s been shooting all his friends.

So, thanks to him, I have a new author photo.

 

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I’m told the picture makes me look a bit mischievous. I’m quite pleased.

A Non-Hero’s Music and Story News

So, two pieces of news. First, “A Non-Hero’s Guide to the Road of Monsters” is now live over at Mothership Zeta. Meaning you can read it for free right now!

The song that acted as the soundtrack was “The Mute” by Radical Face. Seriously, the early drafts of this story was literally just the main character’s voice and this song playing on loop.

Second, Strange Horizons is going to publish one of my stories at the end of the year! It’s called “Dido, Retold” and I’m beyond thrilled. I’ll be posting more information when I have it!

In the meantime, I’m looking for new book recommendations. What have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments.

Six Years Ago

Six years ago, almost to the day, I signed up for my first writing class. I had graduated college a few months before, had a new place and a new job. Suddenly, my evenings were homework free, I knew no one in my new neighborhood, and I was bored. I’d always loved stories and I always wanted to create my own. So, I signed up for a short story class at the local night school.

I still have friends from that class. I’m still apologizing for those first few terrible, terrible stories I inflicted on them. And it was the first of many classes I would take, slowly forcing me to get more adventurous and more comfortable with driving on all sorts of roads in all sorts of conditions. Most of the classes weren’t particularly profound, but they gave me a deadline and a captive audience to try different stories techniques on, as well as an opportunity to get to meet other writers in the area. I had no idea what I was doing and I sort of just tried.

Actually, I still have no idea what I’m doing. But I’m getting better at pretending I do.

Six years later, I am officially a ‘pro’ writer, with seven SFWA qualifying sales to my name – the most recent being a sale to one of my favorite markets Beneath Ceaseless Skies (!!!). I now have a fabulous and talented circle of friends locally and in half a dozen different time zones. I’m part of some great critique groups and beta read for a lot of amazing writers. I’ve worked for a few magazines, slush reading and interviewing authors. I’ve gotten fan mail and fan art.

Yet, part of me hoped I would be further along in my writing career by now. There are still so many goals that I haven’t met yet and I’ve had so many failures. My storytelling ability is nowhere near where I want it to be and I don’t think a week goes by where I don’t ask myself “Why am I doing this?”

But I also know now that if there’s one thing that writing takes, it’s time.

Six years ago, I didn’t know how fun, gratifying, frustrating, and miserable writing is, sometimes all at the same time. It’s nothing short of a roller coaster ride and an exercise in determination and patience.

I won’t lie, today has been a particularly rough day for me in terms of writing (rejections still sting more than I like and my stories are all stubborn things). But even now, looking back, do I regret signing up for that first, overpriced class?

No. No, I really don’t.

Goings and Comings: November 2015

I’ll be at Philcon this year on Saturday, November 21st. It’s my fourth time going to the con, but this year they were kind enough to invite me to be a panelist. Sweet!

Here’s my schedule:

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Tolkien’s Women
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Using Language Creatively
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM How Gaming is Important to Fandom
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM Using Real Life in Fantasy
8:30 PM – 9 PM Author Reading

Now, I just have to figure out which story to belabor regale listeners with Saturday evening. Hope to see you there!

Tag! You’re It! The 777 Challenge Edition

Hooray for friends prompting me to write blog posts occasionally. Tam MacNeil was kind enough to tag me for the 777 Challenge.

The rules are simple: Post 7 sentences of your work, start on page 7, count 7 lines down. But because I’m a rule breaker and/or don’t want this sample to end mid-thought, I’m going to post a few additional sentences. This is a short story I’m working on with the placeholder title: A Non-Hero’s Guide to The Road of Monsters.

I climb the nearest tree, which is not an easy feat one handed, let me tell you. But what I lack in abs I make up in triceps and quads of steel. Within five minutes I’m sitting in the tree’s crown looking down at the most amazing monster I’ve ever seen.

Forget its enormous size and its many, many talons on its many, many feet (that’s what heroes notice first, anyway), it’s neither a newt or hawk or even a snake.

It’s all of them.

From my perch, the monster looks like a starfish, with each arm containing the torso, forepaws, and head of a different creature. (You’ve guess it, a lion, a snake, a newt, a hawk and a hyena.) I can see now why the heroes were so confused. From the ground, depending on the angle the monster stood at, it either would appear to be one of these animals or a combination of a few of them.

Most heroes would be shaking from nerves or adrenaline or whatever right about now. But me, I’m wearing a smile that stretched ear to ear. I have yet to meet a monster that I couldn’t reason with and this one was going to make a fantastic blog post.

And now I just need to figure out how the silly story ends. In the meantime, I’m tagging (challenging?) Karl Dandenell, John D. Murphy and Laurel Amberdine next.