Monday, July 18, 2016

"Untouched by Fire" published

Just got my contributor copies of this 2-volume anthology. Very cool artwork, and looking forward to checking out the many stories in it. All of them are fantasies set in or inspired by non-Western historical locales and cultures.

So what's my story about? A while back I was contemplating tackling a new novel and had some vague ideas about the setting, which was largely inspired by the history and cultures of India. I dug deep into learning all I could, talking to people who knew it from inside, reading many works of fiction and nonfiction. And I also wrote this short story to get my mind into the setting.

The key to this story is that the culture venerates fire, and so when a high-born girl is burned by fire, it's seen as a judgment for her actions rather than an accident. So she must deal with being suddenly an outcast, untouchable. I really liked the character, Jaritta, and she (along with her still high-caste brother) became a central character in the novel as well, a story set some 10-15 years later.

While more a fantasy than a steampunk story, it is worth noting that this was my first big work deliberately set at the cusp of an industrial revolution and shares a lot of the themes that I like to explore in more steampunk-y settings.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Spire City, Season Three: Unwoven is available

Common wisdom is to hold lots of big, celebratory events when you have a book release. I...chose to disappear to the woods for a few days. Admittedly I had internet access a good chunk of that vacation time, but when I did, I didn't have the mental focus to do a lot of promo-ing and the like. So call it my unplanned experiment in null marketing...

But now the book is available across most online bookstores. So if you've been waiting for the full bundle to be out rather than reading the episodes as they came out (and I know many of you have), then pick up a copy, in print or digital format.

And whether you've already picked it up on your own or are doing so now, consider leaving a review--for this season and for the earlier seasons as well. The more reviews, the more it helps bring in new readers! Thanks.

Here are a few of those links, but if there's another bookstore you prefer, there's a good chance you can find it there, too:

Amazon (print and digital)
Barnes & Noble (print and digital)
Smashwords (digital; Smashwords also supplies titles to lots of other digital bookstores, so you get the Smashwords version at most online sources)
Createspace (print, and my preferred source for getting print copies)

Friday, June 10, 2016

"Beings of Air"

This poem was officially published in April. But Mythic Delirium staggers the works it features on the website, so this month you can finally read it (and a couple others that hadn't been released yet) for free. So give "Beings of Air" a read, and consider subscribing while you're there!

The page with the poem includes a brief note about the inspiration for the poem, so I won't repeat that here.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

"All Things Must Complete"

Roughly eight years ago I decided I would try writing something different, a serialization—not just a novel with the chapters tossed out as individual episodes, but something meant to be serialized from the start.

About three years ago, I'd had a novella accepted by Musa Publishing and pitched the idea of releasing the serial as well.

Two and a half years ago, the first episode, "A New Infection," was released by Musa, followed over the next nine months by the rest of Season One, and then the start of Season Two shortly after.

Sixteen months ago, Musa suddenly closed shop, throwing a wrench into my plans for the series.

Thirteen months ago I re-released "A New Infection," this time with a schedule of a new episode every week, with Season One: Infected running through the end of July. Season Two: Pursued followed last fall, and Season Three: Unwoven this spring.

As of this week, the last episode is now out. The season finale. The series finale.

Within the series, when an infected person finally becomes an animal, they are not said to die but to complete. As all things must. The story of Chels and Orgood, Mint and Marrel and the rest is now complete. I hope that it's infected a few of you on its way... So thanks for reading the series. Whether you've read each episode as its come out or have waited for the full season bundles. Or maybe you're still waiting for this last episode to be released. In which case, have at it, and enjoy the series however you choose to read it.

Friday, May 27, 2016

"The Memory of Masks" in Polu Texni

Final week of school has meant not sitting down once at the computer until now... Which is why this poem came out on Monday, yet I'm only posting it today.

"The Memory of Masks" is a free verse poem inspired by a scientific article about uncovering new texts that had been repurposed into death masks in Ancient Egypt. Serendipitously, the editor of Polu Texni, Dawn Albright had recently commissioned a mask from the artist Eric Bornstein. So the posts this whole month have been focused on masks, which led her to pull my poem forward from when it had originally been slated to appear to this week instead. I love when there's a convergence of things like that, when various types of art can cross-pollinate or meet in a new place.

So read the poem, and check out all the mask-related posts this month.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"To Be Continued..."

One of my favorite things to see at the end of a TV episode when I was growing up were the three words "To Be Continued." Some people, I realize, hated that, but it always got me even more excited to find out what would happen next.

Sure, you had a moment of feeling cheated of an ending—what would MacGyver invent next? would Scrooge McDuck ever get his lucky dime back? could Magnum get out of the predicament he was in?—and a lingering worry that you'd miss the following week (sometimes difficult to remember how chancy that was in those days). But I always knew that I'd liked those multi-part episodes the best in the past, so the anticipation would build up as I waited for part two.

So this week's episode honors those memories, a part 1 that will be continued next week—same time, same channel...or anytime. I hope the anticipation builds and makes the pay-off even better!

Sunday, May 01, 2016

April, a month for poetry...

...and fittingly, since it's National Poetry Month, cruel or not.

It began with the publication of two of my poems (as well as one short story). The middle included the sale of two more poems. And then to close out the month, I sold a novelette called "The Poetics of Defiance" to GigaNotoSaurus, which is about a partnership between an alchemist and a poet--and the story includes snippets of the magic-infused poetic lines he crafts to get them out of trouble. It's a story I love, and I'm thrilled that people will have a chance to read it.

But wait, there's more. I also set myself a goal at the start of the month to write a poem every day. Thirty poems later, it's now May. The poems ranged from haiku to sonnet to pseudo, in-secondary-world epic fragments, but most of them were free verse, probably in the 20- to 40-line range (I haven't gone back to analyze specifics). And they ranged from straight-up science poetry to SF, fantasy, horror (there was a strong undercurrent of horror in the poems early in the month, for some reason).

I'd had the idea to do this some April for a number of years now--the last two years I did a compromise goal of one poem every week, and that led to several that have been published, including the "Seasons in a Moon Ocean," which is nominated for a Rhysling--but each time the month came around I told myself it wasn't a good year to try. Honestly, I could have made that argument this year as well, even more than other years, but with the way February's novella-writing challenge went, I decided to give it a go anyway.

What I find when I'm writing poetry is that I'm very open to things I see, hear, read, notice sparking some further thought. So it's a great spur to creativity of all kinds (not to mention, in my opinion, a healthy mindset in general). And the poems themselves? Some will probably not be worth submitting, when I get back to give them another look, but I suspect most will be very worth the effort. And many of them you'll see popping up in magazines and anthologies (and chapbooks? collections?) in the coming year or two.