A New Year Update

Thanks to excellent feedback from Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Rebecca Stefoff, I have completed a final submission  draft of my alternate history fantasy novel, now titled Seventh-Hour Man, and I’ve begun a search for an agent and/or a publisher.

Back in August, I submitted a pitch  for the book – then titled Shadowman – to an open submissions call from the publisher Hodder & Stoughton. They received almost 1,500 proposals and have been plowing through the slush pile ever since.

They completed first read December 31st and it appears I’ve made it out of the slush and will received a second reading. Still lots of time and room for them to say no, but it is a step further along the path to a contract.

I’ll keep you posted.

Also, I’ve got a piece of flash scheduled to appear in Daily Science Fiction on January 15th. Last Call is about baseball; about umpires and newspaper reporters and computers. And how some folks are attracted to their jobs out of love of the work, not a desire for money.

I’ll post a link when the time comes.

And finally, the ink is dry on the contract for Little Green Guys, which will appear in Little Green Men – Attack! The anthology is from Baen Books. It is edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Robin Wayne Bailey, and should be out sometime later this year. The story is homage to Damon Runyon. It’s set in Albuquerque in 1947 and features a burglar named In-And-Out Wachowski. I hope it makes you laugh.


Snapshots from A Black Hole & Other Oddities

This has been a week of firsts for me.  Completion of my first novel deal, for Lifting Up Veronica, and now I’m pleased to announce that my first collection of short stories, Snapshots from A Black Hole & Other Oddities, will be published in November by Tod McCoy’s Hydra House Books.

The book features twenty four stories, eighteen previously published and six brand new tales.

The inimitable Cat Rambo is editor, and the book features a kick-ass cover by Seattle artist Christopher Sumption. Plans are for a launch at Orycon November 11, 2011, in Portland. Hope to see you there.

At Lightspeed

Good news this morning.  John Joseph Adams has purchased my short story, Snapshots I Brought Back from the Black Hole, for a June 2011 publication at Lightspeed magazine.

It’s my fourth pro-rates sale.

Snapshots was my “seventh” Clarion West story.  It’s about humanity’s first voyage to explore a black hole, 1,600 light years from Earth.  It’s narrator is an Artificial Intelligence named Mikhail, the communications officer of Interstellar Vessel Albert Einstein.

I had hoped to have the story done for week six critiquing at CW, but just flat ran out of time, so I substituted Gossamer Yellow, a ghost story.

Thanks, John.  I can hardly wait!

At Analog

Got an e-mail today from Trevor Quachri, managing editor at AnalogFlotsam is scheduled to appear in the September 2010 issue, which will be in print sometime in late June.

I like that.   Just about a year after it was workshopped at Jim Gunn’s SF Writers program at the University of Kansas. That has a certain symmetry, doesn’t it?.

Thank you for the news, Trevor.  You helped make my day today.

The kid in murky depths

issue8The 8th issue of the British speculative fiction magazine, Murky Depths, is on sale now.  Shipping will begin this week and my flash fiction, Nosing with the Four-Stroke Kid, is in there.

As my Brit friends, Jon and Sarah, would say, I am chuffed about this one. I haven’t seen it yet, my author copies are in the mail, but I’ve seen previous issues of the magazine and presentation is first rate.

I have also seen work done by artist Neil Struthers, who is illustrator for my story, and he has a great Mad Max-Biker Chic style that fits perfectly with the Four-Stroke Kid.

The story is about chrome spikes and black leather and dirt bikes and over-weaning curiosity. I am hoping, after reading my tale, that you will never see another dirt bike or hear another diesel engine without thinking about the Four-Stroke Kid.

I’ll tell you more when I get my hands on the book. I can hardly wait.

Yes, Sir! It’s my first time

Friday, I got a painful rejection from Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.  I had such hopes for Deadman’s Drop, a swell tale of what one man will endure for love and revenge; it would have been my first sale to a professional-rates publication.

Today I got e-mail from Editor Jake Freivald, at Flash Fiction Online, accepting my flash, At Both Ends.  And guess who pays professional rates?


At Both Ends presents a conversation at the multiplex — one of those casual chats struck up while waiting for your spouse, significant other or friend (pick one or more) to return from the restrooms, and it considers the balance between power and responsibility.

So, it would seem that I have at last nosed my way into the ranks of professional writers.  I’ll let you know when I get word on the publication date.  And unless you’re halfway around the world, you’ll hear my shout of joy the day it goes online.

Thank you very much, Jake!

Trying my hand at the publishing game

I haven’t told you yet about 10Flash.

10Flash is a new on-line flash fiction site that will specialize in genre stories — fantasy, horror, science fiction and suspense. Once each quarter, we will present ten pieces of flash fiction that share a common theme.

I am the editor and the first issue will go on-line July 1st, 2009. It’s a paying market, too; not much, because it’s coming out of my pocket, but still 0ne-two cents a word isn’t anything to sneeze at.

Submissions for the first issue is by invitation. Those have gone out and I’ve heard back from everyone. I’m encouraged by the response — eight said yes and two asked for a week or two to think about ideas. Two of the affirmatives have already submitted a story.

Of course, everyone and their second cousins are starting on-line magazines. I think what will make 10Flash special is that each issue is tied up by a theme thread. All the stories for the July issue, for example, will involve a librarian traveling in a foreign land.

Check out the site at 10Flash, if you like. I’d love to hear what you think.

Don’t fence me in

Lyn Perry e-mailed today to say he had accepted my poem, The Cards You’re Dealt, for CyberAliens Press’s up-coming print anthology, Silly Westerns.

The Cards You’re Dealt is a medium-long narrative poem about a poker game aboard a train headed for the California gold fields in 1849.  Not miners, mind you; One-Eyed Bob, Fat Ned, Dapper Bobby Kirk and the others were the sort that wore suits.

According to Lyn, the book will feature “hilarious stories of the Wild West, some sappy Prairie Romance, and even a little bit o’ SteamPunk, as long as it’s knock-us-on-our-butt funny! We’re also lookin’ fer cowboy poetry and limericks, art and comics, and anything else that’s sure-as-shootin’ silly.

Publication is set for October 1, 2009.  I’ll post order information when it’s available.

At big pulp

Signed the publishing agreement with Big Pulp just now.  Tin Man will appear at the magazine’s on-line site May 11, 2009.

Tin Man is a 2,500-word short; urban fantasy and as close as I get to weird. It’s about a fellow from Seattle who comes down from a long, hard drunk, after receiving bad news, with a tin can sprouting from the back of his left hand.

I’ll post a reminder on the 11th.