At Daily Science Fiction

I’ve got a piece of flash – Last Call – appearing today at Daily Science Fiction. The story 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 am particularly pleased with this story.  It’s very near-future science fiction.  All the elements are there; human arbiters are already using high-resolution cameras and computer tracking  to make final judgments on disputed calls at first, second and third base.  And television networks show viewers whether or not pitches were in the home plate strike zone — after the human umpire’s call.

Technology has a way of pushing forward, whether or not people want it or not. Like Pandora’s Box, once opened it’s difficult to put things back and ignore potential changes. And not everyone benefits from such changes.  Buggy-whip manufacturers come to mind.

I hope you enjoy the story.

At Big Pulp

I sold This Little Piggy to Big Pulp today.

It’s a tongue-in-cheek short-short, a story George Orwell and E.B. White might have cranked out in collaboration, if they had met on an ocean crossing. It’s also one of my personal favorites. I’m pleased to see it’s found a home.

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And in other news, got a chance to look at the preliminary sketches for the Lifting Up Veronica cover by artist Nico Photos. It blew me away, can’t wait to see the finished product.

Dial Tone at Kasma SF

Dial Tone, a new piece of my flash fiction, went live at Kasma Science Fiction web-zine today.

There’s an interesting story behind the story.  Alex Korovessis, Kasma editor, sent me an e-mail yesterday.  He had read a drabble (flash fiction under 250 words) with the same title here at A Moving Line, liked it and wondered if I’d be interested in reworking the story to full flash length (1,000 words) and submit it to him for possible publication in Kasma.

Well sure.

I figured a couple days of work would do it, but I started the rewrite last night, got gobbled up by the idea and stayed up until 6:00 a.m. this morning to finish it.  I sent it along to Alex at 7:30 a.m. and ran off to a doctor’s appointment.  When I got home at noon, he’d replied.  He liked it, wanted to buy it.  Would I sell it to him?

Well sure!

It’s just after 2:00 p.m. (PST) right now.  The story is up and readable at Kasma and payment has been posted to Paypal.

Thank you Alex.  The story looks great and this is the quickest story/submission turn-around I’ve ever had.

God, I love electronic publication.

Clarion West — Day 3

0630 Wednesday morning and I just crawled out of bed.  It’s the beginning of our third day at the Clarion West workshop and all is well so far.

This thing is everything that people say it is — exciting, intimidating and so much fun. Michael Bishop is the kick-off instructor and he’s been fantastic.  He uses a Socratic style of teaching, asking directed questions, expecting lots of participation and the class has been responding well.  He started with a three-hour session Sunday night, sending us off at the end with an assignment — write a story — under 1,000 words — that involves a quest and focuses on one character.

It was due in twelve hours.  That was a scramble, for everyone, I think.  Particularly for me.  I’d put in a full day on Saturday on zero sleep — ferrying folks to the Clarion West house — and then I slept a couple hours before going to work at midnight to finish out my week.  I got back to CW house, got my things moved in just before the Sunday afternoon session started.

I finished first draft of a story — a upbeat love story — and was in bed by midnight.  “Piece of cake,” I figured.  Then my muse smacked me awake at 0300 with another idea — a contemporary fantasy that wound up as Into the Fading Light.  I finished it in four hours, just in time to send it off for printing, and stumbled through the rest of the day on three hours sleep.

There was another assignment Monday — for Tuesday’s consideration — a science fiction love story that involves only the emotions of love, not the physicality. Four pages or less, thank you very much.  That became Galatea, for me.  Another assignment for today then, two of them, actually — do either one or both.  800 words of sensory description that brings a setting to life and a speculative fiction story, under 800 words, developed using Jim Simmerman’s Twenty Little Poetry Projects template.

Twenty Little Projects gave me Time Travel, Considered as Stream of Consciousness.  One of the things I’d hoped to bring away from CW was the ability to write less conventional stories.   That’s what this one is, I think — a bit screwball comedy, in fact — and I’m pleased with the result. We’ll see how it’s received today.

I’ve also been working on my week-two story submission — a bit of contemporary fantasy/horror piece with a working title of Kindred Souls.  That’s got to be submitted by 2100 Thursday night and I’m done with first draft.  It runs just under 5,000 words (I’d like to cut 10 or 15 percent of that away as I rewrite) and it’s a cautionary tale about aging.  I like the main character, a self-described one-time tomboy named Dorothea.  We’ll see.

In summary, the first three days have been packed full of work and new ideas.  I like the other folks (several are close to my age, one of my concerns), Michael Bishop is a treat (he critiqued our submission stories for us, way over and above. Thank you so much, Mike. You’re the best.) and the work and company is stimulating.  Oh, and I’m catching up a bit on sleep.  Got six hours last night.  More on Sunday morning.

This and that

  • The check was in the mail today from Analog (Dell Publications, actually) for Flotsam.  Still no word on publication date, but then that’s from another office.  I’m ever so pleased with the payment,  and I’m excited about the sale; but the numbers on the check — $360 — show why a writer can’t make a living selling genre fiction.   Even so, Analog!  Woot!
  • The Best of Everyday Fiction Two is on the shelf now.  I have four stories in it — I Must to the Barber’s Chair, In His PrimeOh, Woman of Easy Virtue and Upon The Doorsteps.  The title is linked.  Check it out; you won’t be sorry.   It’s a great collection from a great publication.  Congratulations, Camille.  You’ve hit a home run again.
  • I’m on target for 150, 000 words this year. 14,500 since January 1 and three short stories completed — Crossing the Barrens, a westernesque fantasy that features a medicine show with God as its chief shill; Cretaceous on Ice, a tongue-in-cheek eccentric inventor tale that feels a lot like the SF stories I grew up with, and The Night Bus Doesn’t Stop Downtown on Mondays, Anymore, a moody bit of flash fiction set in Seattle.  The first two are already in the mail.  I’m still polishing Night Bus.

Home again, home again

Ignore the ransom demands. I’m home from Orycon and what a great time I had. Lots to process, but here’s a few high points:

  • chatting with Michael Ehart, one of my favorite flash fiction writers and author of The Servant of the Manthycore and the upcoming The Tears of Ishtar.
  • watching author and anthology editor Lou Anders and Mary-Robinette Kowal, author of the heart-rending 2009 Hugo nominee Evil Robot Monkey (which is flash fiction BTW), pace the center lane at the Building a Balanced Mythos panel.
  • Saturday dinner with Tom Crosshill and Alex Black, the other two 1st Quarter 2009 Writers of the Future winners.
  • seeing Kevin Shamel again. Kevin was at Orycon selling his new book, Rotten Little Animals from Eraserhead Press. (The Mohawk is cool beans, Kev.)
  • Saturday drinks with author and teacher Mary Rosenblum (who has been enormously supportive of 10Flash. Thanks again, Mary. I can’t say that too often.), Dale Smith and Shawna Reppert, whose flash fiction (respectively) Dead Wife Waiting and A Knight’s Vow will appear in the January 2010 and April 2010 issues of 10Flash. (Wait ’til you read them. Great stuff.)
  • the late Sunday afternoon chat with Camille Alexa, author of Push the Sky, a short fiction collection from Hadley Rille Books, and flash fiction editor for Abyss & Apex magazine.  Smart and funny lady.

I hope to talk more about Orycon later. Right now (it’s a bit after midnight), I’m going to bed. I am usually a night writer but at this moment, I’m exhausted.

At Every Day Fiction

I’ve always been a sucker for a uniform, particularly dress uniforms. I had a whole closet full of them at one time. One of my favorites is that of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The Red Serge is front and center in my flash fiction, The Maple Leaf Manuever, at Every Day Fiction today.

The story pokes a bit of fun at American and Canadian stereotypes. Check it out, if you get a chance.

Let me know what you think, eh?