Story Time: Beach Bum and the Drowned Girl

Today’s  Story Time is “Beach Bum and the Drowned Girl,” which first appeared in Mike Allen’s Clockwork Phoenix #4 back in 2013. It’s either a meditation on the nature of urban legends or a story about the birth and possible transcendence of a pair of gods. Or something else entirely, which is definitely the nature of stories. Urban legends and gods? I’m still working on that.

While I was going through my files something happened that happens, apparently, to everyone after a while–I found the beginning to a story that I do not remember writing. I know I did it because the style is totally mine, but otherwise?  It’s not unusual for stories to be started and then abandoned. Either they weren’t working, or we weren’t ready to write them, either by not being good enough yet or the story refusing to reveal itself or…well, there are a lot of reasons. Usually when I stumble across a story like that I can tell immediately why I stopped, and congratulate myself on getting out while the getting was good. Not this time. This one made me want to read the next bit to find out what was going on, only I don’t have a clue as to what that is. Probably why I stopped. I hope I can figure this one out, since I really would like to know.

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Story Time: A Pinch of Salt

3rd Story Collection“A Pinch of Salt” originally appeared in 2006 in Mythic #2, edited by Mike Allen and later collected in On the Banks of the River of Heaven. It’s about foolish men and mermaids. Sort of. Other than that, I do not have a lot to say about it. The story speaks for itself a lot better than I could, which is pretty much the case for all of them.

Story Time

 

Standard Reminder: “A Pinch of Salt” will only be online until Wednesday, November 8th.

Story Time: Courting the Lady Scythe

Today’s Story Time is “Courting the Lady Scythe,” which first appeared in Ekaterina Sedia’s anthology, Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy in 2008. The anthology won a World Fantasy Award for the editor in 2009.

This story is set in the same universe as A Warrior of Dreams. Like any decent universe, there’s more that goes on beyond what you see in the main storyline. There are legends and fables and cautionary tales, and this is one of those. Which one is something you’ll need to decide for yourself.

Standard Reminder: “Courting the Lady Scythe” will be online until next Wednesday, October 25th. After that, there will be something else in its place.

 

 

Taking Inventory

I’m not sure if this is a blog post or an inventory report. Recently I’d been thinking of planning a new collection. Not that I’m ready just yet; my recent forced hiatus has put me a little behind where I’d like to be, production-wise. Yet when I started looking over my oeuvre, so to speak, I realized, for a great many of my stories, I didn’t necessarily remember if it had been collected or not. I usually did, but not always, and even then not always where. It occurred to me that this is the sort of thing I should know, that it was kind of and certainly at least potentially important. Even my own Bibliography was incomplete. Clearly I needed a better system than my faulty memory.

So, on a morning when I really should have been working on the trim in the mudroom, I was instead feeding story data into an Excel file. Every story collection I’ve done, whether print or ebook only, what stories are in each, and the publication year. All by way of making sure that, when I look at an individual story, if I need to I can quickly look up if, when, and where it’s already appeared. For instance, I’m already thinking of what story to put up for the next Storytime, but one I was considering as an original turned out to have appeared in one of the collections. It had completely slipped my mind. That’s the kind of thing that could lead to severe embarrassment, if not worse.

There are already some duplications, though they’re of the sort to be expected. Aside from their first magazine appearances, some of the Yamada Monogatari and Eli Motherbaugh stories had appeared in earlier general collections before being gathered into their respective character’s collections. I know to some of you out there this falls under the category of “High Class Worries,” but when you’ve published over a hundred stories, that’s a lot to keep track of even without considering reprints, and keeping track of everything is part of the job and I’d been neglecting it. This should get me back on track, but while I’m pulling this data together I may as well share some of it. Listed below are all my collections to date, together with the year, including major collections, special collections, and chapbooks.

The Ogre’s Wife: Fairytales for Grownups, Obscura Press, 2002

Worshipping Small Gods, Prime Books, 2007

On the Banks of the River of Heaven, Prime Books, 2010

Our Lady of 47 Ursae Majoris and Other Stories, Canemill Publishing, 2011

Ghost Trouble: The Casefiles of Eli Mothersbaugh, Canemill Publishing, 2011

The Devil Has His Due, Canemill Publishing, 2012

Yamada Monogatari: Demon Hunter, Prime Books, 2013

Two for Christmas, Canemill Publishing, 2013

The God of Small Troubles and Other Stories, Canemill Publishing, 2014

The Collected Tymon the Black, Canemill Publishing, 2017

 

The four done under Prime Books  imprint I consider my “major” collections, as in larger and more complete. Those listed under Canemill Publishing are the ones I take upon doing myself, for whatever reason. For instance, “Deal with the Devil” stories are pretty old-fashioned and there aren’t many markets for them. However, they’re fun to do and every now and then I wrote one anyway. So I put them together in The Devil Has His Due just to give them a home. Because I could. Two for Christmas, likewise for Christmas stories, though those are the only two I’ve ever done.

For this week’s Storytime I plan to have an original. Now with my story list up to date, I can be reasonably certain that it really is one.

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting For the Eclipse

In fact, I’m taking a break from painting the living room this morning in preparation, also getting my blog on. I did the pinhole camera thing during the last partial solar eclipse, and probably will do the same this time, weather permitting. We’re nowhere near totality, but we were supposed to have clear skies here in central NY. Now clouds are moving in. At worst we’ll just enjoy the light changing.

Speaking of enjoying things (Notice what I did there? It’s called a segue. Ask for it by name), my contributor’s copy of Tales of the Sunrise Lands: Anthology of Fantasy Japan arrived today. It’s a nicely put together book and I’m glad to be in it with “The Cat of Five Virtues,” a sort of made-up fairytale, except the title creature (and all the others) come from real traditions. I like doing fairytales; too bad there aren’t many outlets for them these days. A fault of the times, I think. Regardless, the ebook edition is still on track for September. I’ll post when I have a confirmed date.

By my count I’ve had stories in over forty anthologies, counting reprints and “Bests of the Year,” and a lot more magazines, print and online, easily in the hundreds. I’m here to tell you that it never gets old. I remember reading, years ago, where L. Sprague de Camp (google him if you’re too young to remember) said, paraphrase, “A little bit of stardust accompanies each publication.” This from a guy who’d been doing it for over forty years at that point, but I believe it. If I make it that long, I’ll report in.