Pre-Order “Clockwork Dragons” Now!

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Promotional image for “Clockwork Dragons”

Featuring my short story “The Mechanical Dragon.” Find it here. Available January 15, 2020.

 

My Short Story “The Mechanical Dragon” to be Published in “Clockwork Dragons: A Fantasypunk Anthology”

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Announcement graphic from Zombie Pirate Press

I’ve been waiting a few days to be able to brag about this one.

About a month ago, I had hit a dry spell, and decided to “loosen up” by participating in a writing challenge, not something I do a lot of these days. I was considering writing a story for an open submission, but I didn’t know how to approach it.

So I crafted the 150 word tale The Clockwork Dragon.

That got things moving and I was able to forge ahead with the actual story. A few days ago, it was accepted for publication by Adam and Sam at Zombie Pirate Publishing for their upcoming anthology Clockwork Dragons: A Fantasypunk Anthology.

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Another Mysterious Announcement

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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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Stories to Chill Your Halloween Night!

Just in time for Halloween!

Fall into Fantasy 2019 Anthology

I’m thrilled to announce that this fantasy love and horror story is available on Amazon now!

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Cover art for the Cloaked Press anthology “Fall Into Fantasy 2019”

Here’s what you can expect from my short story “The Demon in the Mask:”

Andre Paul LeClair was an orphan, an infant found on the steps of a monastery. Raised in the midst of Priests and Nuns, he grew to be an intelligent, charming boy, and then a handsome, bewitching man. Coming to the attention of a sinister Cardinal, LeClair was whisked away to remote mountain Chateau. Trained for a decade by soldiers, spies, and courtesans, he was honed to be the perfect instrument of assassination. His target, the secret ruler of the Kingdom, the Princess and witch Katia Asa Vajda. But when the moment came to liberate a nation, would he kill the princess, or fall in love with her?

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“Fall Into Fantasy” Anthology featuring “The Demon in the Mask” Available Now!

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Cover art for the Cloaked Press anthology “Fall Into Fantasy 2019”

It’s here! the Cloaked Press anthology Fall Into Fantasy 2019 featuring my short story “The Demon in the Mask” is now available for purchase. Here’s a small excerpt from my tale to drive some interest:

But he had found a key of his own, and it was suspended above the Obsidian Throne of the Princess, or witch if you’d prefer.

“Forgive me my God and my Master, but great is my need and only yon sword Ariel gives me scant hope of slaying the evil one and freeing both your servant and your nation.” With that Andre stood and approached the throne. He had to mount the dais and stand upon the hewn black stone to reach the sword. He could hear it moan and wail like a thing alive, as if the angel encased within longed for the freedom that the man now gripping it enjoyed.
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The Engineer and the Clockwork Dragon: A Preview

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from “The Hobbit” (2012)

Sixty-seven-year-old Rolf Liechtenstein was surprised to wake up alive, but that wasn’t his biggest revelation. Looking past the strange figure robed in crimson, tangerine, and green who was hovering over him, he saw a large, golden dragon collapsed on a wide, stone floor.

“I thought I only dreamed…” His voice sounded more like a croaking frog, and his throat was dry as desert sand. He had meant to speak in English, but had lapsed into his native German, a tongue he hadn’t spoken regularly outside of his home since he was a boy.

The hooded old woman muttered something incomprehensible, and wizened hands protruding from long, loose sleeves pushed his shoulders back onto a mat as he tried to get a better look.

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Removed as a Follower of File 770?

Mike Glyer (right) sitting with Marty Cantor – April 2008.

The other night it occurred to me that I hadn’t received an email notification of any posts on File 770 for over a week. That seemed rather odd to me since Mike Glyer writes on his “fanzine” rather frequently. Frankly, he’s pretty “chatty.” I thought the emails were going to a different tab in Gmail, but no. Then I checked my spam folder just in case, but again, no emails from File 770.

So I looked, and as of this writing, the latest File 770 post is from today. In fact, not a day has gone by when Mike Glyer hasn’t posted something on his fanzine.

I checked my WordPress Reader to see if they showed up there. Nope. Not present. So where have my notification emails been going?

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My Short Story “The Demon in the Mask” Will Appear in the Cloaked Press anthology “Fall into Fantasy 2019”

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Cover image for the Cloaked Press anthology “Fall into Fantasy 2019”

Yesterday, it was announced on twitter that my short story “The Demon in the Mask” will be featured in the Cloaked Press anthology “Fall into Fantasy 2019.” I was privileged to have my science fiction short story “The Recall” previously published in their anthology Spring into SciFi 2019, so this is a double thrill.

This marks the tenth short story accepted for publication 2019, and so far, my average is just ahead of one a month. I’m pretty sure that beats someone’s odds.

Actually, after my announcement about my horror short story “Retired” being featured in The Toilet Zone, I received one rejection after another, and was beginning to doubt whether or not to continue, especially in light of other life events. Thankfully, the Cloaked Press announcement came at a very good time.

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Science Fiction, Opinions, and Why It’s Okay to Disagree

A statute honoring Ray Bradbury was unveiled outside the Waukegan Public Library just after sunset on Aug. 22, 2019, the 99th anniversary of the late author’s birth. (Dan Moran / Lake County News-Sun)

I just read an article at File 770 called Waukegan Public Library Unveils Ray Bradbury Statue (click the link and read, the story’s pretty short). Waukegan was Bradbury’s hometown and I’m thrilled to see that he is being honored. He is a truly timeless writer, and I can prove it, since my 33-year-old son Michael just read Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Over a year ago, I wrote my own wee Bradbury essay titled Should We Burn Ray Bradbury’s Books?. I crafted my missive in response to Katie Naum’s essay at Electric Lit called The New ‘Fahrenheit 451’ Movie Fails to Reckon with Bradbury’s Racism.

I seriously doubt he was a racist, at least in the dictionary definition sense, but assuming Bradbury had character flaws and perhaps some dated beliefs given that he was born in 1920, that doesn’t change his influence on the field of science fiction, nor make him unworthy of being honored.

Of course, we’ve seen this sort of thing before.

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The Latest From the Rejection Files

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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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