The Fugitive Chickens Are Finally Caught

Very happy to learn that my story “Dance of the Splintered Hands” has been accepted by Kaleidotrope and should be published later this year. This is one of my favourite stories, certainly one of my favourite titles, and I’m very glad it’s found a home.

“Dance” contains some fugitive chickens. Hopefully they will survive edits. But nope — they are not the focus of the story.

Fugitive Chicken

Diabolical Acceptance

No, the post title doesn’t refer to a vitriolic critique of the third instalment of Jeff VanderMeer’s excellent Southern Reach trilogy — my story “The Osteomancer’s Husband” has been accepted by Diabolical Plots for their inaugural year of publishing fiction. I am January. Or rather my story is. Yes, that’s next year. Here’s the ToC:

  • March: “Taste the Whip” by Andy Dudak
  • April: “Virtual Blues” by Lee Budar-Danoff
  • May: “In Memoriam” by Rachel Reddick
  • June: “The Princess in the Basement” by Hope Erica Schultz
  • July: “Not a Bird” by H.E. Roulo
  • August: “The Superhero Registry” by Adam Gaylord
  • September: “A Room for Lost Things” by Chloe N. Clark
  • October: “The Grave Can Wait” by Thomas Berubeg
  • November: “Giraffe Cyborg Cleans House!” by Matthew Sanborn Smith
  • December: “St. Roomba’s Gospel” by Rachael K. Jones
  • January: “The Osteomancer’s Husband” by Henry Szabranski
  • February: “May Dreams Shelter Us” by Kate O’Connor

Glad that my story was fished out of an anonymised slush pile by the folks behind the hugely popular and useful Submission Grinder. It’s a long wait until it appears, but the following image hints at the theme…

Miniature Cement Skeletons by Isaac Cordal

Miniature cement skeletons by Isaac Cordal

The Maze of His Infinities

My flash story “The Maze of His Infinities” has been accepted by Perihelion Science Fiction and is now available in their February edition in their “Shorter Stories” section.

This story arose from a combination of a dream that involved The Construct as described in the story (I woke shouting: “Infinity is not a number!”), vague recollection of this New Scientist article, and a story prompt based on the lyrics of Blue Öyster Cult’s “In The Presence of Another World”. It’s one of those stories I wonder if I should have fleshed out to a fuller length, say 3 or 4K, or perhaps even longer….but oh well. So many ideas. So little time.

NB: Also my flash story “Starfish and Apples”, originally published by Nine, is currently available for free all this week at QuarterReads. This is the first time it’s been available without being behind a paywall and you can check it out here.

Serge Salat's "Beyond Infinity" art installation.

Serge Salat’s “Beyond Infinity” art installation.

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The Ghost In The Scroll

Happy to announce my story “The Dragonmaster’s Ghost” is up at issue #4 of Fantasy Scroll Mag. What are you waiting for? Go read it now!

“Ghost” is a sequel to “The Clay Farima” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #128), and the third story to feature the world and characters first introduced in “The Edge of Magic” (included in Fantasy For Good, just out this month).

The canonical order of the three “Mevlish the Mighty” stories:

  1. The Edge of Magic
  2. The Clay Farima
  3. The Dragonmaster’s Ghost

I’m still considering if the Near and Far Kingdoms or Mevlish will feature in more stories. I have no doubt they could. But I do wonder if they should.

Let me know what you think, either here or on the Fantasy Scroll Mag site.

That’s my final published story for 2014, which brings the total to five. Two fantasy stories, two science fiction, and one horror. Sounds about right.

 

"Into The Vortex", photo by Rick Holliday.

“Into The Vortex”, photo by Rick Holliday.

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The Edge of Magic

The first story featuring my wizardly character Mevlish the Mighty is published today in the all-round awesome charitable anthology Fantasy For Good. Still can’t quite believe my story is in the same volume as works by some of my childhood writing heros, authors who inspired my own writing. It’s a very strange feeling! And raising funds for such a good cause too, close to the hearts of many of the readers as well as the contributors. Huge kudos to Richard Salter, Jordan Ellinger, Trent Zelazny, Jennifer and Robert Wilson for bringing it all together.

In “The Edge of Magic” I knew I wanted to write a classic-style fantasy, but with a gritty edge, and a strong female lead. No way Kaffryn was going to let herself be pushed around by her troubled spouse Mevlish. The original idea developed from a swirl of questions: What would happen if two powerful mages disputed custody of their child? Who would win? And what if magic followed a law similar to Newton’s universal gravitation? Would there be a Roche limit equivalent, a region where the strength of magic would tear you apart? What would lie beyond that limit and would anyone ever be able to breach it? In “Edge” and its sequels I try to explore, at least in part, some of these questions.

I hope readers enjoy the story, just one amongst thirty varied and diverse tales in this great anthology. I hope it raises lots of money for Colon Cancer Alliance.

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Kella Vector

My story “Kella Vector” is now live at Perihelion Science Fiction. What are you waiting for? Go read it now!

This piece evolved quite a bit on the road to publication.

I set myself a challenge to write a story with the scenes set in reverse chronological order. I don’t exactly remember why. A whim. Maybe I had just watched Memento. Perhaps I was just curious to see if it was something I could do. Anyway, the current closing scene was once the opening scene, and the current penultimate scene was the second, etc. The point of reading the story was not to discover the “who”, or the “what”, but the “why”. It was much longer in its original incarnation, about double the length, tracking back to the day before Kella’s visit to the Integrator’s fabber plant; it included additional characters such as her estranged husband and son…all sorts of extra(neous) stuff. Most people who read the reverse-chronology version seemed generally impressed by the technical feat…but didn’t think it added anything to the story or the reading experience. Quite the opposite. So why inflict the extra pain?

Eventually I conceded defeat. I re-ordered, re-structured, and cut cut cut. Then cut some more.

And the result is what you can see today.

"The Progeny" by Angel Alonso

“The Progeny” by Angel Alonso

Fantasy For Good: ToC Announced

Received the galleys for “Fantasy For Good: A Charitable Anthology” today and I’ve got to say it looks awesome. The release date has been set for 9th December 2014 and the Kindle edition is available to pre-order already. The trade paperback from Nightscape Press will also be pre-orderable soon (see links below).

All proceeds from the sale of this anthology go directly to Colon Cancer Alliance, a charity dedicated to the prevention of this deadly disease, as well as funding research and supporting patients who suffer from it. Having now read the moving foreword by the editors Richard Salter and Jordan Ellinger, the introduction by Trent Zelazny about his father’s silent battle with this cancer and the very important lessons he’s drawn from it, hearing about the involvement of Jay Lake and others touched by this terrible disease — it’s very much clear this anthology has been created from the heart. I hope it does really well and raises a hell of a lot of money for CCA.

Here is the table of contents. I’m humbled and feel privileged to be a part of it.

Table Of Contents
“Horseman, Pass By – An Introduction” – Trent Zelazny
“The Edge of Magic” – Henry Szabranski
“Annual Dues” – Ken Scholes
“The Kitsuneís Nine Tales” – Kelley Armstrong
“Elroy Wooden Sword” – S.C. Hayden
“In the Lost Lands” – George R.R. Martin
“Worms Rising From the Dirt” – David Farland
“Snow Wolf and Evening Wolf” – James Enge
“Knightís Errand” – Jane Lindskold
“Languid in Rose” – Frances Silversmith
“Green They Were, and Golden-Eyed” – Alan Dean Foster
“Golden” – Todd McCaffrey
“Mountain Spirit” – Piers Anthony
“Moon Glass” – Megan Moore
“The George Business” – Roger Zelazny
“Only the End of the World Again” – Neil Gaiman
“Lenora of the Low” – Marina J. Lostetter
“Trufan Fever” – Katherine Kerr
“Undying Love” – Jackie Kessler
“Dancing With the Mouse King” – Carrie Vaughn
“Showlogo” – Nnedi Okorafor
“The Bluest Hour” – Jaye Wells
“Pandal Food” – Samit Basu
“Loincloth” – Kevin J Anderson and Rebecca Moesta
“Man of Water” – Kyle Aisteach
“Bones of a Righteous Man” – Michael Ezell
“Timeís Mistress” – Steven Savile
“Little Pig, Berry Brown and the Hard Moon” – Jay Lake
“The Grenade Garden” – Michael Moorcock
“Sand and Teeth” – Carmen Tudor
“The Seas of Heaven” – David Parish-Whittaker

Kindle editions can be pre-ordered here:

Canada Pre-Order Link: http://www.amazon.ca/Fantasy-Good-Charitable-George-Martin-ebook/dp/B00NJY4GUE

Pre-Orders for the Trade Paperback edition will be available soon the Nightscape Press webstore: http://nightscapepress.wix.com/store 

If you do the Goodreads thing, you can add it to your “To Read” list here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23167420-fantasy-for-good

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