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I haven’t been writing much lately. Okay, I haven’t been writing anything new at all. I do technical writing for my day job of course, and I just finished yet another freelance job updating/refreshing test questions at the back a technology book (it’s actually more interesting than it sounds, pays pretty well, and has a quick turnaround).
What I have been doing is submitting previously rejected short stories to different publishers, actually trying for more “mainstream” periodicals.
This is where the rejection part comes in. One story is basically urban fantasy/crime story (I’ve just submitted it yet again, so we’ll see) and the other is a sort of “pirates in space” tale, complete with oppressive colonizers, revenge, and swashbuckling. I even included a fictionalized version of a famous author.
The vast, vast majority of time when you get those rejection emails, they’re pretty standard fare and offer no feedback good, bad, or indifferent. This last one did:
Promotional materials for the Fantastic Schools series.
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You may remember that my fantasy short story “Sorcery’s Preschool” was published last fall in Wisecraft Publishing’s anthology Fantastic Schools, Volume 2. It’s the tale of a four-year-old girl and the day her grandmother takes her to a very unusual pre-school, one for gifted and very young (and potentially dangerous) magicians.
Promotional image for Magicks & Enchantments
If you like my work, buy me a virtual cup of coffee at Ko-Fi.
This is a little later than I’d hoped, but my short story “No Place Like Home” is finally available in the Blackbird Publishing anthology Magicks & Enchantments (also available HERE and HERE).
What would have happened if Dorothy hadn’t made it back to Kansas from Oz? What would have happened if she didn’t want to go? What would have it been like if the “good witch” Glinda had craved the ruby slippers for her own, and after a few minutes, hours, or days, what would the transformed Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and Cowardly Lion really have been like with their new attributes?
To find out, buy a copy of this anthology and read “No Place Like Home.” I promise, you’ll never think of Dorothy the same way again.
Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch from the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz”
This one has been in the works for months, and the story involved has been edited again and again. I think you’ll like the final result. It will become available Saturday. I still can’t talk about it and have no promotional materials to offer, but I can share an excerpt to whet your appetite.
Toto barked at the witch like a maniac, but mercifully, didn’t try to escape Dorothy’s grasp. The broomstick competed with Dorothy’s legs as to which could shake faster and harder. If the monkeys didn’t arrive soon, Glinda would grab Dorothy and send her back home. Dorothy could try to ride the broomstick back to Wicked’s castle, where she knew the monkeys were sure to take her if they’d ever show up. But she’d never ridden a broomstick before. What if she fell – or worse, dropped Toto?
Promotional image of author A.C. Haskins
If you’ve read THIS and THIS, then you know why I’ve been reviewing a small series of short stories published by Baen Books.
Today, I review the third and last tale in the 2021 freebie I downloaded called Misfits authored by A.C. Haskins. He doesn’t seem to have a blog or website, but according to his Amazon Author’s page:
A.C. Haskins is a former Armored Cavalry Officer and combat veteran, turned economist and business strategist (and occasional firearm instructor). He has a lifelong love of speculative fiction, having written his first science fiction novel as a class project in the eleventh grade. His interests include (but are not limited to) ancient and medieval history, mythology, applied violence studies, tabletop gaming, and theoretical economics. He lives in Michigan with his wife, two cats, and a dog.
You can find what books he’s contributed to by clicking the link above.
Cover art for the novel “The Cunning Man”
If you read my review of the short story Appleseed: A Founder Effect Legend, you know this is my opening effort in taking a closer look at the literary products of Baen Books.
I’ve written enough (more than enough) about the Baen’s Bar kerfuffle, but I’m convinced that the worst Baen editor Toni Weisskopf is guilty of is neglect. I’m also, if not convinced, at least deeply concerned, that this entire mess was orchestrated (with the original “catalyst” either deliberately crafting the hit piece, or unwittingly serving the purposes of others) to muffle or even mute a publisher who is politically agnostic as far as selecting authors and books (apparently this can be a bad thing if you want to promote an industry serving only a single perspective, excluding all others).
I’m writing these reviews, in part, because I’ve always had a soft spot for the underdog, and having been bullied as a kid, I don’t like the adult bullies, either.
Lovers by Harry Hollard, 1982
Eugene hadn’t felt the warmth of a woman’s touch in too long. The pandemic, lockdowns, and all the rest made most people reluctant to become intimate with a stranger. His life had always been dependent on a near endless string of brief, anonymous affairs. He had been starved for what he needed for what felt like an eternity.
“Come here, lover.” Brenda cooed and sighed as he took the nipple of her right breast between his lips and expertly fondled it with his tongue.
They were both nude and his penis began to stir, but the longing he felt went far beyond that. However, as he was about to strike, he was startled out of the moment.
“And now you’re mine, you poor sap.” Brenda clutched his head in both of her palms and began a ritual Eugene knew all too well.
Cover image for the Cloaked Press anthology “Fall into Fantasy 2019”
I was going over various Amazon reviews of anthologies where my stories have been featured and came across one for Fall Into Fantasy: 2019. My tale “The Demon in the Mask” appeared within the pages of this Cloaked Press publication.
Even when such anthologies do well in the reviews, my stories are pretty much never mentioned (I look anyway). Lo and behold, this time something happened.
Promotional cover image for the Sol planetary anthology
One of my oldest science fiction tales, “The Pleiades Dilemma” is featured in the Tuscany Bay Press Planetary Anthology Sol.
It’s now available for pre-order on Amazon for delivery to your Kindle device on November 10th.
And now, another excerpt:
Promotional image for the Gemini Wordsmiths anthology “The Trench Coat Chronicles”
About six weeks ago, I announced that my short story “The Haunted Detective” was accepted for publication in the Gemini Wordsmiths anthology “The Trench Coat Chronicles.”
The graphic above not only includes my name among the accepted authors but relates that this book will be available sometime around the winter holidays.
If you can’t wait, here’s a small excerpt: