An Announcement: SWORDS V. CTHULU

Fresh off of my last announcement about being an honorary mention for the Kraken Awards, I have more exciting news!

My short story THE THIEF IN THE SAND is going to be published in Stone Skin Press’s Swords v. Cthulu, an anthology that mixes together D&D-style swordplay and Lovecraftian themes. I’ve been told it’ll be out early next year, but the bigger news is that it will be in bookstores.

That’s right, MK-Ultra-ers (which is what I’ve decided to call you), you will be able to read a short story by yours truly in a book. That you bought. From a store. And can hold in your hands.

This is kinda big shit.

Not to mention the fact that I’m sharing a Table of Contents with the likes of Carrie Vaughn, NY Times Bestseller and one of my personal heroes, Jonathan L Howard, writer extraordinaire and author of the Johannes Cabal series, which is one of my favorites and a huge inspiration on my Steampunk Zombies novel.

I squeed quite loudly. Neighborhood dogs were barking.

Pretty soon I’m going to need a WHERE TO FIND ME section!

Also: I’ve been querying kinda hard with Steampunk Zombies after a little interest surged on the Twitter, but, alas, have been rejected by several interested folks. (One even asked for an entire manuscript read, which was a first!) But the train is a-choo-chooing down the self-publishing line and I must follow where the winds blow.

The second draft is in my hands, fresh from my editor and soon to be a third draft. Once the third draft is complete, beta readers will get their grubby mitts upon it and–voila!–there shall be another thing for you to read. In your hands. From the Internet.

Not as cool, but still pretty legit.

An Honorary Mention

Last February, I submitted a short story entitled HOW LILY AND IVAN THE TERRIBLE’S SON SAVED THE WORLD FROM SHAKESPEARE to Devilfish Review, an online magazine that previously published my short story CHRYSALIS in the fall of 2012. Yes, it has a bit of a Snakes on a Plane feel to it, and that’s intentional.

They were holding The Kraken Awards, a short story contest to celebrate their four years of publishing awesome speculative fiction. A few months later…ba DA DA DUM! — an honorable mention appears!

I’m so grateful to Devilfish Review for picking up a weird short story about a girl with colored hair (wonder where I got that idea from?) who has to protect the world from the things that come out of the colored strands at night. A wee bit Lovecraft, a wee bit absurdist (I was writing this whilst writing STAR-CROSSED, my steampunk zombie novel that is just this side of Daniil Kharms when it comes to surrealism), and a lot of puns.

(True story: a lot of magazines have a list of things they DON’T want you to do and one of them — I kid you not — said NO PUNS. My heart was broken a bit that day, as puns are the bread and butter of my writing process.)

I submitted that story high and low — got the feedback once that it was “too clever”– and thought that out of all of the short stories I’ve written, it would be the toughest sell. Of course, now that I’m back into the sending out and receiving rejections game, I think that another short story of mine, THE JAR TREE, is the toughest because it’s written in southern dialect with a little bit of stream-of-consciousness thrown in for good measure. So, the gladness in my heart of it finding a home — and being good enough to be an honorable mention! — has spurred on some new inspiration and has pushed back the impostor thoughts that so often crowd my worldview.

Amanda Palmer, my personal hero, published a book The Art of Askingin which she talks about the “fraud police,” or rather, the thoughts that she’s not good enough, not a real artist and that some shorts-wearing, moustached, uniformed officers are going to cart her off to I’M-A-FRAUD-AND-I-DON’T-KNOW-WHAT-I’M-DOING jail. I think all artists — or at least the ones I’ve come into contact with — have this feeling of not being adequate enough, of writing complete and absolute shit, only to figure out that NO ONE knows exactly what they’re doing and that we’re all just swimming along, doing our best. And that, more often than not, that best is actually kind of awesome. So, with this publication — and another one that’s TOP SECRET, but to-be-announced when I can, I’ve pushed those fraud police away just a little further.

So, without further ado:

HOW LILY AND IVAN THE TERRIBLE’S SON SAVED THE WORLD FROM SHAKESPEARE, by yours truly.

Check out all of the other authors that made the Kraken Awards issue and expand your mind!

Apparatus Publishing

Apparatus Publishing is a little ol’ startup established by my good friend and fellow author, Blue-Haired Stevie. (I worked with another Stevie, the infamous Stevie’s Mom Stevie, and the Blue-Haired epithet is to differentiate the two.)

Their goal is to create an app for e-readers and the like that completely changes the way people read stories. Instead of the boring turn an electronic page because we’re humans and we would feel obsolete and somehow backstabby to our caveman ancestors who turned pages for millions of years, the stories organically scroll upwards continuously, displaying content and pictures — yes, pictures — slowly as one progresses through the story.

Back last year they needed a guinea pig story to work their Apparatus-y magic on, and voila! a little ol’ story of mine called The Retriever was entered and won their competition so as to be the flagshipstory.

What they do is add pictures — drawn by their lovely staff — add sounds and music — composed by their also lovely staff — so that the reading experience engages more than one sense.

They tell me that soon, (SOON), they’ll be up and running and publishing stories and changing the e-reading experience and stuff. I’m so *sniff* proud.

Chekhov’s Oeuvre

I’ve always wanted to use that word. Ooh-vrah. (If you go to the dictionary.com definition of that word, the lady pronouncing it sounds like she might be doing something else, if you know what I mean.)

Achnywhoo, Chekhov, a source of constant surprise for me, is known for his short stories — more because he could never finish a novel to save his life* — and plays, but I like the former better. There’s only so many breaking strings that you can hear before you just want to get to the gun part last act. Amirite?

I’ve decided to try my hand at some short stories. Mind you, I haven’t written anything less than 10 pages since I was 10 myself, still waiting for my letter from Hogwarts to come in the mail. Since that never happened, I shut myself into the basement and started writing novels. Not short stories, but novels. I never looked back. *80s power ballad*

Which is what my notes from last post were all about. As it is, I’m not trying to plan anything out or make anything perfect. I don’t even really know what’s going to happen after the line, “No, this is what we get for lying about what we saw.” I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEY SAW. It’s exciting.

*Too soon?