Publications Update

1929

Promotional image for Zimbell House Publishing’s anthology “1929”

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that I had a fourth story accepted for publication, but since the publisher hadn’t made a formal announcement yet, I couldn’t give out particulars. However, this morning Zimbell House Publishing on their Coming Soon page (scroll down) posted notice that “1929: A Zimbell House Anthology” will be published in both Paperback and eBook formats on March 26, 2019. My short story “The Devil’s Regret” will be included in the anthology.

Some of you may have read a few variations on that tale I had been playing with here on my blog in months past. My study group from the writing class I took last November, had plenty of opportunities to read refined versions of the strange adventures of sixteen-year-old Timothy Quinn, the boy who could hear news stories from the future on the radio, and discovered he was the only person standing between an innocent ten-year-old girl and murder.

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Shhhh…My Fourth Short Story Has Been Accepted for Publication

shhhh

Image found on multiple sites – no attribution given

I got an email yesterday evening that said one of my submitted short stories has been accepted for publication in an anthology (Hint: Not by a publisher who has previously accepted my work). They don’t have the pre-order info on their site yet, so I can’t give out details, what I just wanted to mention that for 2019, I’m four for four.

On the one hand, I’m incredibly delighted to add to my publications list and have another story put on my writer’s resume, but now I’m really worried when the bubble pops and one (or more, or a lot more) of my stories is/are rejected.

Naturally, I’d like everything I submit for publication to be accepted, but that’s not how the math works.

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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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Concealment: Should I Have Used a Pen Name?

guy fawkes mask

Guy Fawkes Mask

It’s too late for me to use this option (probably), but an incident (two, actually) occurred last week that got me to thinking.

I’ve already considered the idea that breaking into science fiction and fantasy as a conservative, religious, white, married, cisgender old man (and if you exist at a particular social and political extreme, all of that means I’m “evil”) might be a waste of time considering how the publishing industry in particular, and entertainment in general seems fairly prejudiced against creators who aren’t leftists and atheists (although I know some leftists who are religious). In science fiction in particular, this was played out in previous years by the Sad Puppies phenomenon, and not too long ago by the Comicsgate movement, which also seems to have gone by the wayside.

But as I mentioned, last week, a person responded to two of my missives on Facebook rather negatively. Normally, I take these things in stride, since “outrage” is something you get used to if you’re not following a popular social media narrative, but this time the person in question was in a position to significantly inhibit my future as an author, at least within a certain realm.

I won’t provide the specifics of this, but I will confess to having my anxiety level rise quite a bit and losing some sleep over it.

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Being Published in the Anthology “Flash Fiction Addiction”

ffa

Announcement for “Flash Fiction Addiction” from Zombie Pirate Publishing

My flash fiction story “Growing Flowers” has been accepted for the “Flash Fiction Addiction” anthology to be published by Zombie Pirate Publishing.

The original announcement states:

FLASH FICTION ADDICTION is now open for submissions. Very short stories 100 – 750 words long. Any genre or theme. Subs close when we have 101 accepted stories.

They received nearly 300 submissions and accepted 101, including mine. Look for it at Amazon on April 15, 2019.

EDIT: Updated image below.

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Promotional image for the anthology Flash Fiction Addiction

Book Review: The Fifth Season

fifth

Cover image of NK Jemisin’s 2015 Hugo Award winning novel “The Fifth Season

“Jemisin is now a pillar of speculative fiction, breathtakingly imaginative and narratively bold.”―Entertainment Weekly

“Intricate and extraordinary.”―The New York Times

“[The Fifth Season is] an ambitious book, with a shifting point of view, and a protagonist whose full complexity doesn’t become apparent till toward the end of the novel. … Jemisin’s work itself is part of a slow but definite change in sci-fi and fantasy.”―Guardian

“Astounding… Jemisin maintains a gripping voice and an emotional core that not only carries the story through its complicated setting, but sets things up for even more staggering revelations to come.”―NPR Books

“Jemisin’s graceful prose and gritty setting provide the perfect backdrop for this fascinating tale of determined characters fighting to save a doomed world.”―Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“A must-buy…breaks uncharted ground.”―Library Journal (starred review)

“Jemisin might just be the best world builder out there right now…. [She] is a master at what she does.”―RT Book Reviews (Top Pick!)

“Wait! What? Sure, it’s an interesting story, but… –Me

I’ve read most Hugo nominated and award-winning novels from 1988 back to 1958, when the Hugos first came into existence, but recently, I decided for the sake of fairness, I should consume more recent popular SF/F novels and stories to see how cultural perception is changing the landscape of speculative fiction. The fact that N.K. Jemisin is a three-time Hugo award winner wasn’t lost on me, particularly after having read her latest controversial historic Hugo Award acceptance speech.

Fortunately, The Fifth Season (2015), the first book in “The Broken Earth” series, was available through my local public library system. Given its obvious “hype,” I was hoping for something spectacular and afraid that it wouldn’t be.

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The Minor Goddess

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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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Being Published in the anthology “Magical Reality”

magical reality

Announcement of the “Magical Reality” anthology from Pixie Forest Publishing

Sunday morning, I woke up to some wonderful news. Actually, when I saw the email from Pixie Forest Publishing with the title, “Decision for The Dragon’s Family,” I was prepared for another disappointment at being once again being rejected. Then I read this:

Thank you for submitting your short story “The Dragon’s Family” to Pixie Forest Publishing’s modern fantasy anthology. We really appreciate you letting us consider your story. After much consideration, we have decided we would love to include your story in our anthology.

I was still swilling coffee and trying to wake up, but at that moment, I could have been dancing on air.

Later, I found out that there had been 62 submissions to the “Magical Reality” anthology, and only 11 stories had been picked, including mine, “The Dragon’s Family.”

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Book Review: Knight Training (The Steam Knight Book 1)

knight

Cover art for Jon Del Arroz’s novella “Knight Training”

Yesterday, I finished reading Jon Del Arroz’s short story Knight Training, a small steampunk piece that’s part of his For Steam and Country universe. I won’t post these first few paragraphs at Amazon, but I feel it necessary, given the criticism I receive every time I mention Mr. Del Arroz on this blog, to say something about him, or at least how some folks perceive him.

About a year ago, another author, Jim C. Hines, wrote a scathing criticism of Del Arroz that he titled Jon Del Arroz’s History of Trolling and Harassing. I was doing some research on Del Arroz via Google and came across the missive (and it’s the only reason I became aware of Mr. Hines and his writing since he otherwise was not on my radar). If all this is true, it makes Del Arroz a pretty terrible person.

On the other hand, Del Arroz’s fellow writer Richard Paolinelli says he’s a pretty good guy. I like Richard and have no reason to doubt his word, but I must admit, I see two sides to a man who calls himself “The Leading Hispanic Voice in Science Fiction.”

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Dreaming on Such a Winter’s Day

zebra unwinding

Image credit: Zulkarnain Ismail

William Blake knew he was in trouble when he saw the zebra unraveling like a ball of twine, especially since there shouldn’t be any free roaming zebras in the high desert southeast of Boise.

“Get a grip, get a grip, get a grip,” he muttered to himself, pressing his hands on each side of his head. The vision wouldn’t go away, but neither did the zebra seem to mind its condition.

“Of all days, why did it have to happen today?” Every New Year’s morning, the forty-eight-year-old electrical designer took a walk in the open fields south of his home, symbolically welcoming a year of new hope. “But I have to be at Edna’s in an hour for breakfast. I can’t go like this.”

The zebra moved on but then the clouds started turning themselves inside out, swirling and shifting from white to silver, then to magenta and turquoise. The grass around his ankles and then all across the field. writhed like serpents and rubbed against his legs like affectionate house cats, while the trees in the distance grew and expanded to Pellucidar-like proportions. Then the sky became granite and the ground turned to vapor, but neither did the atmosphere collapse upon him, nor did he fall through the mist.

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