An Overdue Update

I just got back from the Little Falls Library (Literally, like half an hour ago) where I recorded five flash fiction pieces for a local podcast series. It appears to be a very cool project with a lot of talented people and I’ll post specifics for availability and whatnot once everything is sorted. It should be available next month.

Next, a very surprising but pleasing bit of news from David Stokes at Guardbridge Books. My story from Tales of the Sunrise Lands: Anthology of Fantasy Japan, “The Cat of Five Virtues,” is a finalist for the Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press Award. It is always an honor just to be nominated, and thus I am honored. The winner will be announce at Capclave next month.  Here’s the full list of finalists:

“A Vague Inclination to Please,” by Brandon Daubs in All Hail Our Robot Conquerers, ed. by Patricia Bray & Joshua Palmatier, published by Zombies Need Brains LLC, (September 2017);

“The Cat of Five Virtues,” by Richard Parks in Tales of the Sunrise Lands: Anthology of Fantasy Japan, ed. by David Stokes, published by Guardbridge Books (July 2017);

“Floaters Can’t Float,” by Pip Coen, published in Compelling Science Fiction, ed. by Joe Stech, (April 2017);

“Oba Oyinbo,” by Jonathan Edelstein, published in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, ed. by Scott Roberts, (October 2017);

“The Oracle and the Warlord,” by Karina Sumner-Smith in The Sum of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound, ed. by Lucas K. Law & Susan Forest, published by Laksa Media, (September 2017);

“Probably Still the Chosen One,” by Kelly Barnhill, published in Lightspeed Magazine, ed. by John Joseph Adams, (February 2017);

“The Secret Life of Bots,” by Suzanne Palmer, published in Clarkesworld Magazine, ed. by Neil Clarke and Sean Wallace, (September 2017);

“Through Milkweed and Gloom,” by Wendy Nikel in Submerged, ed. by S.C. Butler & Joshua Palmatier, published by Zombies Need Brains LLC, (September 2017).

You can read more about the award (and the organization) at  WSFA.

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Story Time: Fox Tails

This week’s Story Time is the novelette that began the Yamada Monogatari series, “Fox Tails.” It was originally published in the June 2005 issue of Realms of Fantasy.

As I’ve said before, I originally conceived of Yamada no Goji as a sort of noir style detective in Heian Japan. Unlike some cases, I did know it was a series when I first wrote it. I don’t always know that, witness the Eli Mothersbaugh stories. What I didn’t know and couldn’t have imagined at the time was how much Yamada would evolve over the series from my original concept. Yamada had his own ideas, apparently, but I didn’t mind. Ill behaved characters are usually the best.

Story Time: Knacker Man

Today’s Story Time is “Knacker Man,” first published in Robert Bloch’s Psychos back in 1998. As you can probably guess from the subject matter of that anthology, it wasn’t exactly sweetness and light. In fact, it was my one and only Jack the Ripper story. Why? Because one day I heard an interesting word that I’d never heard before. I looked it up, and the story came with it. That’s the way it works, sometimes.

“Knacker Man” will stay online until next Wednesday, August 1st, then something else will go up.

Story Time: Conversation in the Tomb of an Unknown King

Today’s Story Time is “Conversation in the Tomb of an Unknown King,” which first appeared in Weird Tales #341, August/September 2006. Mostly what I remember about writing it was I was meditating, as one does, on the nature of wights, and specifically tomb wights. You think “ogre” or “ghoul” and a specific image is likely to pop up. Wights were always a little harder to pin down. According to Katharine Briggs (my go-to for information on such things), wight is from old Germanic meaning “being” or “creature.” Vague, much? Truth told I still don’t claim to have much of a handle on them, but I had fun playing.

As always, “Conversation in the Tomb of an Unknown King” will stay online until next Wednesday, July 4th. Then, something else. That’s the deal.

 

Story Time: The Swan Troika

Today’s Story Time is “The Swan Troika,” first published in the February 2011 issue of Realms of Fantasy, and the last story I ever published there as the magazine folded not too long after (October 2011). Almost every writer I know is convinced that there is at least one magazine they are personally responsible for killing, as they published a story in that magazine’s final issue. Yes, we all have big egos, why do you ask? Regardless, that wasn’t its last issue, and RoF published so many of my stories that, if I was the problem, it wouldn’t have lasted as long as it did. Magazines, especially print ones, come and go no matter what we do. Most die unmourned, but not all. And some, like Weird Tales and Amazing SF never stay dead forever. Part of me still expects Realms of Fantasy to be resurrected some day, but I won’t hold my breath even as I hope for it to happen. All that aside, I’m pretty sure I’m not responsible. “The Swan Troika” remains one of my favorite stories (accompanied in the original by Ruth Sanderson’s superb illustration), and I’d love to do more like it, if there’s ever a home for them again.

I’d like to give a belated shout out to Ekaterina Sedia for helping me with the Russian naming conventions in this story, which I would have made a complete mess of without her.

Standard Note: “The Swan Troika will remain online until next Wednesday, June 13th. Until then, enjoy.