And I know whose I’m going to read next!
Just back from a very fun, very fast, but very hot, trip to New York for the launch of Machinations and Mesmerism: A Tribute to E.T.A. Hoffman at The Footlight. Apparently if I’m going to New York, it’s going to be stupidly hot as instead of doing some exploring after arrival, I decided it was better to hit the hotel restaurant and take a car service over, since the heat index was pushing 105.
It was a small but enthusiastic turnout to see me, Michael Cisco, and LC von Hessen read our stories from the anthology and to hang out at the very fun little venue. Don’t let the address fool you-this is not a scary area (though the route the driver from the hotel took me gave me some interesting ideas for Aleks’s adventures as a P.A. in New York–more on her later. Remember, leash, curb, and clean up after your thug!*)
*Actual sign seen on a chain-link fence in one of the more dubious areas.
There was a strange theme of teeth going on with the readings. Of course, Sophie Vestergaard, my rather mundanely eerie character, has every good reason to be interested in them as besides her more unsavory hobbies, she’s a forensic ondontologist. I’m sure my mother (who used her DDS for much more general practice) would admit, it’s easier to examine the teeth when you can just flip the skull over and detach the lower jaw!
I’d hoped to dress a little nicer, but after trying on everything in my closet I realized 110 in the shade combined with airline air conditioning meant jeans and a peasant blouse was the most practical thing I had. Not pictured: my new pearl-encrusted tiara from Half Lucid Jewelry, which the amazing and talented Kendra L. Saunders made me and which will be making its debut at a Cunard masquerade ball near you (if you’re in Nova Scotia or the North Atlantic.) Not only does she work for the fantastic Footlight and write the Dating an Alien Pop Star series, she makes sparkly things! For very reasonable prices, too.
Looking forward, I’m happy (and relieved) to announce that my story “Storm-Spun” will appear in the forthcoming Tales of the Siblings Not-So-Grim anthology from Hollow Hills Books. Pleased, because I’m always happy when someone decides they want to pay me for my writing, and relieved because this is a story that’s been picked at and revised and resubmitted several times, so I’m thrilled it’s finally found an appreciative home. Hopefully this means there’s a reason to keep going now I’ve decided this one has longer potential after all!
First, Urban Crime Short Stories are now available at Amazon!
I have my own copy in my hot little hands (and a couple spares; use the contact form if you’re interested in a signed copy!)
And now on lulu, with an Amazon edition coming soon, is Machinations and Mesmerism: A Tribute to E.T.A. Hoffman from Ulthar Press, including my short story “Deadhead”. Of course I had to submit. It’s Hoffman. I read The Nutcracker every year at Christmas (and sometimes in the middle of summer, too.)
Related to that, I have my first real jet-setting author experience coming. Ulthar Press is holding a book-launch party and readings at The Footlight in Queens, New York. I will be reading, as will several other contributors (and the fact the club’s managers include my friend the amazing and talented Kendra L. Saunders is just one of those weird coincidences Hoffman I’m sure would appreciate as much as I do.)
And coming up, Smoking Pen Press, publisher of A Kiss and a Promise (featuring my short story “Only Ever Slowly”) is only weeks from release of Vampires, Zombies, and Ghosts: Volume One, which will include my short story “GhostLife.”
In non-writerly (mostly) news, I have a question: how long in advance is too long to be planning everything you want to do on your September vacation? Like, daily itinerary! And given where I’m going, I’m hoping for some inspiration for Anders (see my Urban Crime entry) and Julie and their adventures on her home turf. I wonder what Anders will think of poutine?
Hope everyone is getting better weather than here. Not that I’m biased in both respects, but around here, this is excellent weather to chill a bottle of white and stay in the shade (or the air conditioning!) with a glass of wine and a good book.
If you’ll recall, I was looking for inspiration while expanding a NYC Midnight flash fiction contest entry called GhostLife into a longer work for an anthology call tentatively titled Vampires, Ghosts and Zombies from Smoking Pen Press, part of their Read on the Run series. You may remember them as the publishers of A Kiss and a Promise, which includes my short story Only Ever Slowly.
Well, I am happy to be able to announce that GhostLife survived some tough competition from hundreds of submissions and will be appearing in one of the two volumes of Vampires, Ghosts, and Zombies. I admit I was rather pleased to hear that the submissions are blind reads on the part of the editors, so they didn’t know they’d bought my work before when making their selections. Kind of makes up for not only not moving on to the final with that story, but never actually getting the judges’ feedback that everyone is supposed to get.
Meanwhile, I have started a new one of those things 99% of writers require, a day job with an actual paycheck. Sadly my previous employer, of the fun outdoor cooking and playing dress-up, was forced to close its doors due to lack of funds. Which is sad for many reasons, and I’m going to miss working with an awesome group of people, but I was very lucky to find a new job quickly and one that’s less of a killer commute! Once my training, which I promise is as fun as it sounds like it would be, is done, I will be joining the tasting room staff of Domaine Berrien Cellars. And with my training, I’ve developed a new hobby: pairing wines with fictional characters and stories! Mostly this started as a mnemonic device for me, but I’m having far too much fun. So far, most are tied to as-yet-unpublished works or things I don’t own (I have at least two that are totally Sherlock villains), but when Flame Tree’s Urban Crime comes out, I recommend pairing my story A Father’s Child with our Wolf’s Prairie Red, which is made from cold-weather-friendly hybrids that remind me a lot of the wine I bought in Denmark, and has a subtle, smokey aroma and dry, smooth finish that fits with a good Scandi Noir.
And, though you’d never guess it looking here, I do still paint.
Check out who sold a story to SFWA-recognized professional market Flame Tree Publishing for their upcoming anthology Urban Crime:
A Father’s Child is a murder mystery featuring a detective I very much hope to use again, Anders Kjelsen of the Copenhagen Police. And as you might guess from that, yes, I’d call it Scandi Noir.
Thrilled as I am that I sold a story and actually got paid pro rates for it, it’s even more exciting to see my story sharing page space with names like Arthur Conan Doyle and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I can only assume lighting a candle in Fyodor Mikhailovich’s old neighborhood church must really have worked!
But somehow, that seems to be what sells.
As indicated on my “about” page, I’ve made a couple recent sales. Yes, as in “real editors are paying me real money for things I wrote.”
First, I’m very pleased that Smoking Pen Press LLC purchased my short story “Only Ever Slowly” for their new Read On The Run anthology A Kiss and a Promise. Considering that I wasn’t sure why I was responding to the call for submissions, I don’t consider myself a romance writer, and I set about to subvert or flat-out trample every romance trope I could think of including use of the word “love”, I’m somewhat surprised they liked it. But then again, I think Carl is a rather fun “romantic hero.” He’s fifty-something, a grump who’s deliberately stuck in a rut, and probably suffering from severe depression. Maybe “shut up and drink your coffee, old man” is the new “as you wish.” The story is set in Denmark, a country I’ve now had the pleasure of visiting, and if I were forced to make an elevator pitch for it, I’d probably say “It’s A Man Called Ove meets a Hallmark Channel movie. With baked goods.” (Yes, I know A Man Called Ove is set in Sweden. Went there, too. It’s also nice. Buy the chocolate herring. I take a poke at Swedish accents so it does get a name check.) The anthology is in its final stages before publishing and I put links to the e-book and paperback when they are available.
More recently, Splickety Publishing Group (Splickety Lit-think about it) has acquired my Flash Fiction piece “Life Plans” for their Spark Magazine November issue “Lab Coats and Love Letters.” Maybe not everyone can find romance in a hospice setting, but hopefully my hero, Dr. Erik Schou, M.D., and burned-out travel blogger Margaret “Zee” Zielewski can make it work. (Even if Erik’s patient, Zee’s Aunt Dodo, has to do some prodding off-screen. And she probably will. When I have more than a thousand words to play with, I think Aunt Dodo’s going to have quite a bit to say.)
If you’re noticing a distinctly Scandinavian-tinged theme to my leading men here . . . well, you’re not wrong. Shut up. Blame casting choices made by people like Dave Filoni and Steven Moffat.
There are some irons in the fire, including two submission calls for steampunk and diesel/decopunk that may have a decidedly Slavic twist. A check of the About page here will show I’ve been visiting some points farther east than Scandinavia (at some point I may have to do an advice feature on “how to speed-negotiate with street vendors in Saint Petersburg”.) And I do have one other project ongoing, which is strictly not for profit and entirely for fun. If you like Star Wars, Lego, chocolate, and absurdity, visit Angry Lego Thrawn on Facebook for the adventures of an inch-high blue plastic chocoholic manchild and his Lego friends.