Another Mysterious Announcement

unknown

Image found at compellingreads.co.uk – no attribution given

This morning, I received another bit of good news, but I’m sworn to secrecy, at least for the next 24 hours or so, until it becomes official. All I can say is that the email made my day, especially since I was up at a quarter til four in the morning because I couldn’t sleep.

Actually, it gave me time to do the research on a short story submission due in about ten days or so. I’ve been struggling with this one until inspiration seized me, as it usually does, when I’m trying to get some rest.

I spent the early morning working Google into the ground, collecting links, beginning to create characters, and I was starting to outline the plot when the clock told me I only had an hour left before I had to leave for my day job.

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The Latest From the Rejection Files

dragon

from “The Hobbit” (2012)

I’ve received three story rejections within a relatively short space of time recently, which is disheartening. The first one was a long shot I sent to Uncanny Magazine. I wasn’t surprised when they sent a very speedy rejection email back to me, but I figured “worth a shot.” Of course that means the short SciFi story has been rejected three times so far.

However, the other two I actually thought had a chance. Here are excerpts from them both:

Strange Pawns

NOTE: The one requirement for this anthology was that both dragons and vampires had to be included. I set my tale in alternate versions of World War Two just for giggles:

Hodhas and Meldaborne personally led the 2nd Airborne Wing of Dragons on their fourth night of successive attacks against Berlin, supported by scores of RAF Mosquitoes. The city suffered from round the clock bombing runs, with the American Army Air Force assailing the capital by day.

The RAF insignia was proudly displayed by the dragons, each wearing a large sash that encircled their torsos. Jagi, however, had hers painted directly on her scales.

“Maintain formation in the dive, my cohorts,” ordered Hodhas, who seemed all but invisible against the ebony sky. “Our plunge to the Reichstag is coming up in moments.” Each of the dragons tilted their wings in acknowledgement, deftly avoiding flak from anti-aircraft guns on the ground, or those few that were left after the last twenty-four hours of perpetual bombardment.

“On my mark…dive!” The obsidian mother dragon curved her body downward, folding her wings back like a falcon, and in unison, 58 other dragons, one of six remaining attack forces, followed, screaming out of the ether like enormous birds of prey.

“I see something ahead. Too small to be aircraft, and we know the Luftwaffe has been destroyed…” Hodhas never finished her sentence as hundreds, perhaps thousands of bats surged upward from the city under cover of darkness, each with a wingspan of six feet or more. Their cries were maddening, and both fang and claw pierced the armor of the dragons, causing blood to be drawn from a dozen wounds in a matter of seconds.

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Author Update April 19, 2019

scifi

Cover art for the Cloaked Press anthology “Spring Into SciFi”

About a week ago (sorry, I’ve been away, I’ve been busy) I announced that my short story “The Recall” had been accepted for the 2019 edition of the Cloaked Press anthology “Spring Into SciFi.” No further news is yet available except that one of the contributors is a well-known name in science fiction (can’t wait to find out who).

However, as you can see above, on the Cloaked Press Facebook page, I did find a proposed cover image for the upcoming anthology. Pretty stoked.

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Magical Reality is Available for Pre-Order Now!

mr

Promotional image for the Pixie Forest Publishing anthology “Magical Reality.”

Finally the Pixie Forest Publishing anthology “Magical Reality” is available for pre-order on Amazon for delivery to your Kindle device on Friday, March 8th. It features my short story “The Dragon’s Family” which is based on the very first tale I wrote for my grandson over two-and-a-half years ago. Make sure you get your copy as soon as possible.

January 2019 Wrap Up

boise winter

Winter in Boise, Idaho

Just a wee update. As you all know if you’ve been reading my blog over the past month, three of my short stories have been accepted for publication. You can find out all about them on my Publications page.

You also know that I haven’t been writing as much fiction here as in months past and have been, more or less, ignoring most of the writing challenge communities I enjoy so much. That isn’t an intentional snub. I’ve just been busy.

For instance, in the month of January, not only were three of my stories accepted, but I submitted 5 stories to various publishers. I can’t tell you anything about them because, after all, submitting is not being accepted, and I’ve fallen flat on my face plenty of times before, so there are no guarantees.

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The Minor Goddess

goddess

Photo credit: UnexpectedTales

“Well, it’s about damn time.” She was more provocative than beautiful, though her piercing brown eyes, dark chestnut-colored hair, and burgundy-painted lips were definitely alluring. She was leaning over her tucked in legs, the skirt of her short, deep, Prussian blue dress hiked up, revealing ample, pale-skinned thighs and just a little more besides…and she was barefoot. Her expression was expectant with a dash of mischievousness.

Since my divorce, I’d been living in a flat on the third floor of a converted Victorian in Boise’s counter-culture North End. Having parked my car around back, I was walking up the front steps, a sack of groceries from the Co-Op balanced in my right arm, while thumbing through my keys with my left.

“I beg your pardon?” I paused on the ancient concrete steps, a cold January breeze blowing from the north chilling me. I thought I wouldn’t be out very long and so only put on a light jacket, and now I was shivering.

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The Assignment

clock

© J. Hardy Carroll

“I’ve got to write a hundred words about that?” The creative writing student balked when his instructor placed the ornate clock on his desk, which was to be used as a writing prompt.

“That’s the assignment, Mike. What’s the problem?”

“It’s hideous.”

“It’s an antique.”

“It’s repulsive.”

“Then you should be able to write a piece of flash fiction about something hideous and repulsive.”

“Do you remember the scene from ‘Office Space’ where Peter, Michael, and Samir take the office printer out and smash it to pieces? I can write about that.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 92.

Yes, that was more or less my reaction to seeing the prompt. Not all prompts are created equal and this one rubbed me the wrong way, so that’s what I wrote.

Oh, for those of you who haven’t seen the excellent 1999 film Office Space, here is a YouTube video (unedited, so language) of the infamous destruction scene of the office’s constantly malfunctioning printer.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Moon River

moon water

Watery mantle – Evidence from ancient volcanic deposits suggests that lunar magma contained substantial amounts of water, bolstering the idea that the Moon’s interior is water-rich – Olga Prilipko Huber – Brown University

Francisco Sanchez was the chief surveyor on the Moon Base One project at Mare Tranquillitatis. His team, plus support personnel, lived in a series of dome covered depressions nearly a mile distant from the site of the proposed base colony. In the temporary survey shelter, heated and pressurized to a “shirtsleeve” environment, he was going over the latest seismic and radar data with his team leads.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Read ’em and weep, Chief. This solves one of the biggest problems we have in establishing a permanent lunar colony.” Barbara Lawless was not only one of the best lunar geologists in the business, she was the group’s undisputed poker champ, dubbed such both by the NASA staff and SpaceX contractors.

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The Digital Muse

houses

© Dale Rogerson

Another day, another sunrise. The sky is an ugly, pale yellow, and life is bland and uninspired.

“Hey, you.”

Addy turned toward her laptop sitting on the small desk in her bedroom. The speakers were on, so it was chattering away at her again.

“What do you want? I’m depressed.”

“Get over here. You have to finish your story. Marguerite’s trapped in that waterfront warehouse by Marsden’s goons. Will Preta be able to save her? You’ve got to help.”

A twinkle appeared in Addy’s eyes as she sat down at the computer, opened the file, and began to write.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a poem or story no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

To me, the image is pretty depressing, a smoke-filled summer sky, and the promise of another scorching day. The original version of this story before I edited it down, was more descriptive, but there’s only so much you can do with 100 words.

I leveraged characters from my story The Haunted Detective, and as far as the talking computer goes, I’m leaving that part rather vague.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Encouragement, Discouragement, and the Impostor Syndrome

impostor syndrome

azilliondollarscomics.com

Every day the Medium Daily Digest appears in my Gmail inbox, giving me the opportunity to read articles from various progressive voices. If you’ve read other of my social commentaries on this blog (not the hottest of topics among my readers based on the statistics, “likes,” and comments), you know I sample a wide range of opinions in an effort to keep informed.

Much of the time, it isn’t easy reading the opinions of people who don’t like you, or at least, don’t like what they think you stand for, but I don’t want to spend all my time reading and listening to viewpoints with which I already agree.

That’s why the article We Need to Redefine Success for Writers by James Ardis came as a bit of a surprise.

He certainly isn’t widely published, and his advice seemed fairly generic, but I was compelled by the source. Usually, it is the more socially and politically conservative authors, typically who operate in the speculative fiction genre, who are the ones suggesting indie publishing.

The Ardis essay was the sort of “cross-pollination” I’ve always hoped was possible but feared was doomed from the outset.

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