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Author Jennifer Quail

Fantasy, Steampunk, Science Fiction, and More

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Remember This One?

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 So far, most are tied to as-yet-unpublished works or things I don’t own (I have at least two that are totally Sherlock villains), but when Flame Tree’s Urban Crime comes out, I recommend pairing my story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.

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I’m Not a Romance Writer

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.

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