“Guilt Child” up!

September 23, 2010 at 7:55 am (Stories online)

“The Guilt Child” is up in the current issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

This is one of those stories that’s been coming to me the same way lately: I’ll start spinning out some worldbuilding idea — in this case, the industrial magic I’d used in the background of “A Serpent in the Gears” — and once I start to get a clearer sense of it, a story will appear and derail any serious worldbuilding.  In this case, it was the idea of magically-infused automata that sparked it, the question of sentience, the inconvenience this would pose to, say, a factory owner whose machinery became self-aware . . . and suddenly there was Stamper, and Carla, and hot tea.

I’m still finding the edges of this world, but I’m finding it fascinating that each story that springs from it is a different kind of story — pulp espionage adventure, mystery and romance, coming-of-age, and now a fairy tale of sorts.  Complete with ogre.  Hope you like it!

It was here, where the gold light gave way to the sparky blue of condensing thaumic ore, where the spring chill evaporated off the boilers, that her cousin stopped. “Stamper!” he called, pitching his voice above the din. “Stamper!”

The pounding paused, one press after the other, some of them halting in mid-blow. A mass of cables shifted, its fittings turning and locking into place. “Jamie,” said a low, titanic voice, the kind that the pantomimes gave the Stone King.


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Talking serpents

September 15, 2010 at 8:06 am (Stories online, The Internet Is Full of Things)

There’s a fascinating discussion about “A Serpent in the Gears” over at Torque Control, and while I’m a little nervous about having my story under such scrutiny (especially because it follows two very serious and thoughtful stories, both of which outclass mine by far), I’m honored that they chose it.  The different perspectives on it make for interesting reading, as well as food for thought as I continue work on Breath of the World.

If you’re interested, go take a look.  And hey, “The Guilt Child” is coming out on the 23rd, so if this venture into steampunk didn’t turn you off completely, you may want to take a look when it’s up.

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Write all the things!

September 12, 2010 at 3:19 pm (Appearances, Cons, Stories online, The Internet Is Full of Things)

A few notes on upcoming appearances, stories, and work:

– This coming Saturday, I’ll be part of a group reading at Pandemonium Books and Games in Central Square to celebrate Strange Horizons tenth anniversary.  Ten SH authors will be reading from their works, followed by questions, talk, and general “wooo great magazine!”-ness.  The fun starts at 2:00 PM — if you’re in the area and would like to hear some awesome science fiction and fantasy, come join us!  If you can’t make it, but would still like to join in the celebration in spirit, consider donating to Strange Horizonsannual fund drive. You might even win one of their fantastic donor prizes!

– I’m going to be at New York Comic-Con again, this time on a panel discussing shapeshifters.  (The big question I want answered: how many authors on the panel are dog people, and how many are cat people?  Three guesses which I am.)  I’ll post more once I’m sure of my schedule — maybe this time I’ll sneak out and play tourist for a while!

– If you liked “A Serpent in the Gears” and wanted to read more set in that world, I’ve got a new short story coming out in a couple of weeks in Beneath Ceaseless Skies.  “The Guilt Child” focuses on an entirely different set of characters, but it’s the same world, and I love these characters just as much.  (Funny, how so much of my writing derives from a desire to introduce people to these amazing characters.  Evie, Charles, the Professora . . . and now Carla and Stamper.)

– In no particular order, I still need to:

  • get my preparations started for Viable Paradise (I’m staff again this year)
  • update my bibliography (which still lists Wild Hunt as forthcoming — yikes!)
  • update the whole site so it’s better suited to my needs
  • get back to blogging on a semi-regular basis
  • attempt to clean before the dust mites grow to the size of my head
  • write ALL the things

Whether I’ll actually manage any of this is another matter, since between the obligations listed above, hammering out a first draft of Dirty Water, assembling the first draft of Breath of the World (keep in mind all titles listed are so very very changeable), chasing down the short stories that keep popping up whenever I try to work out more worldbuilding details, I don’t have much brain left.  And most of that is in a permanent state of “awww” due to my new nephew, my response to whom pretty much matches this.

It’s gonna be one hell of a month.  Totally worth it, though.

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News, reviews, and edits.

April 12, 2010 at 9:19 pm (Spiral Hunt, Stories in print, Stories online, Wild Hunt)

That totally failed to rhyme.

I’ve been a total slacker when it comes to blogging lately, so all of these are a little out of date.  Which in Internet terms probably means they’re approaching antediluvian, but what the hey.

First off, a couple of reviews are up: one of Spiral Hunt in Realms of Fantasy, and one of Wild Hunt in Fresh Fiction.  *happy review dance*

Second (and with no excuse, since I’ve had my shiny contributor’s copies for a little while now), Realms 2: The Second Year of Clarkesworld Magazine is out, and while my story “When the Gentlemen Go By” is reprinted in it, that’s not why you should get it.  You should get it for all the other fantastic stories — “Blue Ink” by Yoon Ha Lee, “The River Boy” by Tim Pratt, and “A Buyer’s Guide to Maps of Antarctica” by Catherynne M. Valente are just a few of the stories that have been haunting me since I read them.  Clarkesworld has also been nominated for a Hugo in the Best Semiprozine category, as have two stories from last year (including one of Nora’s!  Woooo!).  If you’re not reading it, you should be.

Another online magazine that I’m far too fond of, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, has bought another of my steampunk short stories.  “The Guilt Child” will be coming out sometime this year, and while it does not immediately follow the adventures of Charles, Dieterich, and the Professora, it’s part of the same world.  (This is what happens when I start worldbuilding.  I come up with a cool idea for backstory, then turn that into a story of its own, and so on…)  I’ve been calling it the story of a girl and her stamping press, and really, there’s no better way to sum it up.

Meanwhile, the edits for the third book are in, and they look…startlingly good.  Usually I read the edits, fuss for a day and feel all cranky that My Beautiful Deathless Prose is being questioned, and then go and make all the edits anyway (which inevitably makes it much, much better).  This time, though, I can’t think of any of the edits I disagree with.  That’s encouraging, I think, and it’s certainly making this round of edits a lot easier.  I think this will be a better book than the two that preceded it, though as usual I’m too close to it to tell.

...can you use “antediluvian” when referring to the Internet?  Maybe in a scaled-down sense, such as “before a flood of new traffic”…no, I’m reaching.  Also, it’s late and I’m babbling, but that’s what a blog is for.

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Serpents? On MY dirigible???

January 14, 2010 at 11:45 am (Stories online)

…It’s more likely than you’d think.

The grand debut of Professora Lundqvist, Colonel Dieterich, and dear, dear Charles is now up at Beneath Ceaseless Skies! “A Serpent in the Gears” was such a fun story to write, beginning to end, and I loved every part of it. In fact, I love this universe and want to have its steampunk babies write much more in it someday.

Here’s an excerpt. Go and read; I’ve had so much fun with this, and I hope you enjoy it too.

The captain pointed to a lens behind the helmsman. A gray cliff face, cut into deep letters of ten different scripts, receded from our view. “We’ve just passed the graven warning.”

I peered at the bow lenses, trying to get a better look at the warning itself. When I was a child, I’d heard stories (all disdained by my teachers) that the warning had been inscribed into the side of the mountains by an automaton the size of a house, etching the words with a gaze of fire. When I was older, my age-mates and I played at being the team engineered solely for the job of incising those letters, hanging from convenient walls and making what we thought were appropriate rock-shattering noises to match. After such tales, small wonder that my first view of the warning, some twenty years ago, had been so disappointing. Yet I could still recite by heart its prohibition against entering the valley.

The lenses, however, showed no sign of it. Instead, most displayed the same sight: a confection like matching wedding cakes on the mountainsides flanking the pass, the consequences for those who defied the graven warning. Thousands of snub spouts pointed towards us, ranging from full cannon-bore to rifle-bore, the latter too small to see even with the ship’s lenses. My eyes itched to adjust, and I felt a pang just under the straps of my andropter harness, where most men had hearts.

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Audio fiction, Magic District, and real life weird

February 12, 2009 at 8:00 am (Magic District, Stories online)

A few notes: 

  • “Dragon’s-Eyes” is now out as a podcast at Beneath Ceaseless Skies.  I haven’t yet listened to it — that’ll happen during today’s commute — but based on previous experience, I predict it’ll be excellent.  
  • I am privileged to be part of the group blog Magic District, launching tomorrow. (Eeek.  Gotta get my first post ready.)  It’s a collaboration of several new fantasy writers: Diana Rowland, Greg Van Eekhout, Tim Pratt, Rachel Aaron, and N.K. Jemisin.  We’ll be posting on magic, writing, publishing, and anything else that catches our interest.  Come see us tomorrow!
  • And you thought I made this stuff up: Tourist steps into history at hallowed Boston cemetery.  The ground gave way, and the woman fell hip-deep into a hidden granite stairwell leading down into an unmarked brick crypt.  This is the sort of thing that I couldn’t put in a story because it’d be too unbelievable.

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“Dragon’s-Eyes” up at Beneath Ceaseless Skies

January 29, 2009 at 8:23 am (Stories online)

And now for something completely different: a man with a tape recorder up his nose a short story online.

“Dragon’s-Eyes” is now up at the online fantasy magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies, sharing the issue with Michael J. DeLuca’s “Of Thinking Being and Beast.”  It was one of those stories that came together easily, but that left me feeling kind of bruised when I’d finished writing it.  But I’m very proud of it, and I hope you like it as well.

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New year, new story

January 2, 2009 at 6:49 am (Stories online)

Okay, let’s just get the “I’ve been neglecting this blog and hope to be posting more often in the coming year” bit out of the way right now.  Good?  Good.

Honestly, I do mean to post more often, and I expect I will be posting more in the coming months.  But for some reason, publicly resolving to do something has the opposite effect on me than it ought to: I dig in my heels, feel guilty for not living up to it, and dig in my heels some more.  Not the best reaction, really.

Anyway.  On to the new year, and to new work, including a short story that’s just gone up!  “Ragnarok Has Been Postponed” is now up in the online magazine The Town Drunk, which is back after a hiatus.  It’s a fun little story that I really enjoyed writing, and I hope you enjoy reading it.

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July 31, 2008 at 9:21 am (Stories online)

Okay.  Here’s the bare-bones summary.

Helix is a magazine that has published some excellent stories and poetry.  However, for a number of reasons (most of which are detailed here), I feel I can no longer support it.

A number of Helix authors have put up Transcriptase, a site dedicated to reprints of works originally published in Helix.  Among them is my short story “Funeral Games,” which originally appeared in the July 2007 issue.   

It’s been difficult for me to articulate how I feel about all this.  I loved the stories and poetry that appeared in Helix, and I was proud to have one of my stories in such company.  But I don’t want to support, even tacitly, a magazine whose representative has acted in this manner.

And yeah, all that probably counts as “pantiwadulous.”  So if you need me, I’ll be doing the dance of pantiwadulosity over here.  As for you, go read some excellent work at Transcriptase.

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Story out of nowhere!

July 1, 2008 at 7:21 am (Stories online)

My short story “When the Gentlemen Go By” is up at Clarkesworld Magazine!  An audio version, read by Cat Rambo, is also available as well.  

I apologize for the short notice on this.  I’d been so immersed in revisions that this kind of caught me off guard.  Still, I hope you enjoy it!

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“Goosegirl” up as a podcast!

April 22, 2008 at 7:51 am (Stories online)

“Goosegirl” is now online as a podcast, read beautifully by Mary Robinette Kowal and with an introduction by Rachel Swirsky. (I’m listening to it now, but have to run off to work as soon as it’s done, so I’ll add more on this later.) Enjoy!

Update 4/24: Okay, that was just awesome.  It’s strange, but hearing someone else read it is a little like seeing an illustration, or some other interpretation — the characters sound entirely different from how I’d imagined, but they sound so right.  All of a sudden, I’m hearing different nuances, aspects of the characters that I’d never seen but that were there.  Or perhaps they weren’t there at all, until the reader brought them out into life.

I suspect I’m starting to tip over into either philosophy or literary theory, and I’ve promised myself I wouldn’t do that without at least two drinks in me.  So I’ll just wrap up by restating my opinion: that was awesome.

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“Knight of Coins” is up!

April 1, 2008 at 9:50 pm (Stories online)

I’ve got a number of excuses for not posting, none of which are very convincing. I promise I’ll have more up later this week, after my day job stops eating my brain. (Mmm…brains…)

“Knight of Coins,” a short story featuring Genevieve Scelan, is now online in the April 2008 issue of Jim Baen’s Universe, with an absolutely gorgeous illustration by Jared Blando. This is the second short story from Evie’s point of view, the first being “Christmas Apples” in Realms of Fantasy. Evie’s also the protagonist of Spiral Hunt, though “Knight of Coins” was written much earlier.

I haven’t had a chance to read the other fiction (see above re: brains), but judging by a cursory glance they look fantastic. Enjoy!

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“Goosegirl” up at Fantasy Magazine

January 25, 2008 at 8:43 am (Stories online)

My story “Goosegirl” from the Fantasy Magazine anthology is now up at their site!  Go take a look, and then enjoy the other excellent fiction on the site.  “The Yeti Behind You” and “Zombie Lenin”, both from the same anthology, are also up.

Heck, I can’t think of a better way to spend a Friday morning.  I mean, come on.  Yetis and Zombie Lenins!

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A few updates

January 6, 2008 at 9:25 pm (Stories online)

Astonishing Adventures #2 is up, including my story “Racing Against the Rose.”  It’s a pulp revival magazine, with all the glee that entails, currently available as a PDF for download.  It will also be
available in hardcopy from Amazon at some point in the future — I’ll link when it’s up.

My story “Goosegirl”, from the Fantasy Magazine anthology, has been accepted as an audio podcast in PodCastle.  I’m not sure when it’ll be out, but I’ll post a link once it’s up.  (Side note: If
the idea of audio podcasts of fantastic short stories appeals to you, try PodCastle’s sister sites, Escape Pod and Pseudopod.)

Also, there’s currently a poll for the favorite stories in the 2007 run of Fantasy Magazine.  Go here and take a look.  (If you’re not familiar with Fantasy Magazine, you’re missing out.  Go read, then take the poll.)

Happy New Year to all!

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“Goat Eschatologies” up at Strange Horizons

November 19, 2007 at 8:49 pm (Stories online)

Goat Eschatologies” is now up at Strange Horizons.  I’m fairly proud of this story, even though the ending has irritated more than one reader in the past.  It’s about as close to mainstream writing as I get these days, not that that’s a problem.

What’s odd about it is that it was one of those stories that came from a title — and then the title got changed.  I don’t have much luck with titles; either they end up kind of bland or they’re skating on the edge of too cute.  This story began life as “Pre-Apocalypse Sale on Cheese,”and while I held on to the title for a while, one of the editors finally pointed out that it set the wrong tone for the story.  She was right — the old title implied more of the wacky than the story really delivers, and I’d been sticking with it out of sentiment.

I’m still happy with the new title, and with the story as a whole.  Hope you enjoy it — and remember to donate to Strange Horizons if you do!

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