Sat, Oct. 17th, 2020, 12:00 am
Sticky Post: About my fiction, and where you can find it.

Scroll down for newer content. :)

My first original short story, Illegal Beagles, is available right here on this LJ as a freebie. Read, enjoy, feedback is adored. There is a completely optional "donate" button at the bottom if you feel like tossing a couple of bucks my way. ;)

Summary: Russell Fisk, the captain of the tramp freighter Inquisitive Tamandua, hates transporting live cargo, but a creditor has him over a barrel. So now he has to get a pack of hunting Beagles to the client, while dodging Feds and dealing with an alien passenger who's more than slightly odd. And, oh, hey, one of the dogs is in labor.

I've had twelve short stories published in various venues.

Servile Spirits to Invent was published in "The Death God's Chosen" by Deepwood Publishing.

Summary: A village decimated by plague uses corpses to till the fields so they don't starve. However, the entities animating the bodies have their own agenda.

Bear Essentials was published by World Weaver Press in the "Far Orbit" anthology. Julie Czerneda says: "Daring adventure, protagonists who think on their feet, and out of this world excitement! Welcome to FAR ORBIT, a fine collection of stories in the best SF tradition. Strap in and enjoy!"

Summary: The intrepid crew of the Inquisitive Tamandua is hired to transport a "grizzly bear" to a monastery. But neither the bear nor the monastery are what they seem, and their routine (ha) job is complicated by a reporter who's all too eager for a scoop to bolster her flagging career.

War of the Were-Mice was published by Unlikely Story for their April Fool's issue. Be thou warned: This was written on purpose to be terrible. The challenge was to "write the worst piece of fiction you can stand to see under your byline." So... I did. It's a flash piece, so you won't lose too many brain cells by reading it. They also interviewed me.

Summary: The house vermin battle for supremacy.

Of Were-Critters, Widow Women, and Water Rights was published in the "Ways of Magic" anthology by Deepwood Publishing.

Summary: Mike Vaughn, a werewolf who works security for a rail line in Reconstruction Texas, is embroiled in a feud between a family of brothers and his ex-sweetheart. Throw in a professor with a water-sucking contraption, a preacher with a dark past, and a hunter, and Mike is having a truly rotten day.

Different in Blood was published in Plasma Frequency.

Summary: Ben Lockwood, werewolf private investigator, finds himself embroiled in the weirdest cheating spouse case ever. What the hell is a squonk? He's about to find out.

Showing Faeries for Fun and Profit was published in Stupefying Stories.

Summary: Faerie shows are cooperative enterprises between humans and faeries. When a faerie is kidnapped, it's a race against time -- and against faerie rights activists, the larger Fae, and an unscrupulous fellow competitor -- to find her before something terrible happens.

The Cow and the Beanstalk was published in Azure Valley, an imprint of TM Publishing.

Summary: We all know the story of Jack the Giant Killer. How he traded a cow for some magic beans, killed a giant, avenged his father, and lived happily ever after. Now, everyone assumes the bean man was out to cheat Jack -- but, you know, the beans really were magic. He delivered on his promise and then disappeared, never to be seen again. So, what was so special about a cow, that a fellow would be willing to trade beans like that for her?

Sensory Overload was published in Plasma Frequency.

Summary: A security guard with electronic sensory enhancements accompanies a group of art students down to the home planet of a new alien species. While there, he sees things he shouldn't--but he's not sure if he's really seeing them, or if the enhancements have finally made him crack.

"Affairs of Dragons" was published in Renard's Menagerie, which is sadly defunct. It's also available through Anthology Builder, which is where the link to the story will take you. And you can read the beginning of it here. It's the sequel to "Illegal Beagles."

Summary: The crew of the Inquisitive Tamandua is hired by a mother dragon to move her eggs from one planet to another. She's in the middle of an ugly divorce and an uglier clan war. The eggs aren't supposed to hatch...

"Bitter Honey" was published in AfterburnSF but can no longer be read online. It's available through Anthology Builder here, and it also appears in the "Fight On! Weird Enclaves and Black Pits" anthology. The link in the title will take you to a short preview, and it's available through Amazon here.

Summary: Desperate faeries raid a beehive for the honey they need to make it through a deadly winter. But at what cost to both faeries and bees?

"Fortunes of Soldiers" was published by Cosmos magazine, with a fabulous illustration by Emrah Elmasli. You can also buy it through Anthology Builder (link takes you to a preview of it).

Summary: Two week's pay for one night's work, babysitting a spoiled asteroid heiress? Mercenary Jake O'Dell thinks all his jobs should be this easy. Until, of course, everything goes disastrously wrong.

"Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" was published by Darwin's Evolutions, with a fabulous illustration by Karl Nordman. It's available as a trade paperback for $9.99 (along with several other stories by several other awesome writers), or a high-quality .pdf download for $2.73. It's also available through Anthology Builder. You can read the beginning of it here, and purchase it here.

Summary: Mark Newman loves being a werewolf. But when his wife finds out she's pregnant, she attempts to cure him against his will, in his sleep. Naturally, it goes horribly wrong--and it goes even wronger when she gets a well-meaning priest involved, poor fellow.

My author page at Anthology Builder is here. You can read more of my fiction right here on this LJ. I have a "DVD extra" from my first novel that introduces a couple of characters to each other under less-than-optimal circumstances, and you can read that here. This is one of my very favorite scenes. And I try to post a snippet every Saturday (subject to change), and those can be accessed via my snippets tag.

Most of this LJ is me whining about writing, with some Real Life and Fannish Squee thrown in on occasion. I have more information on my User Info page, or you can peruse my tags and see if anything in there looks interesting. You can also follow me on Twitter.

So. Come in, kick back, have fun. If you feel like commenting, please do.

Mon, Jul. 21st, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

  • Sun, 22:40: I love when a story tells me it wants to be in the Worst Tense Ever. Hey, at least it doesn't want to be in second person too. #couldbeworse
  • Mon, 11:56: Story saved in new doc in present tense. Blah. Yes, it's better. Shut up.

Sun, Jul. 20th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

Sat, Jul. 19th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

  • Fri, 12:18: RT @LordRavenscraft: "Disney owns marvel. Marvel owns Thor. Thor is the son of a king. Thor is now female. Thor is now a Disney princess…
  • Fri, 17:00: RT @SamSykesSwears: Being a writer is like every day is your birthday. And sometimes you open a present and out crawls a carpet of brown recluses.
  • Fri, 20:11: Seeing the shape of the solution to this plot problem. Having fun escalating from "hunting deer" to "slaughtering a lab full of people."
  • Sat, 10:05: ...I must be insane.
  • Sat, 11:26: RT @bradleyvoytek: The problem with ethics is that it has a formal basis that isn't, "stuff that I feel like."

Sat, Jul. 19th, 2014, 10:05 am
...I must be insane.

I just lined out my writing projects for the rest of the year.

I'm looking at four anthologies to scribble stories for by the end of the year--three are open calls and the one I'm working on now was one where I buttonholed the editor at Westercon and wangled a sort of invite. Then there's the collaborative project with my roleplay partner, and the one I want to do where my mad scientist gets wolfed.

Now, if I could just get my brain into writerspace for all of these things, that would be peachy.

In order and code-named:
Dreams and Nightmares (due mid-August)
Hitman in Hell (due Oct 1, for "I Am the Abyss")
Blurring the Line (due Oct 31, for this; I don't even have an idea for that one yet)
Post-Apocalypse Steam (due Dec 30, for this; and, no, I don't have an idea for that one yet either)

No particular deadline:
Love the Apocalypse--the collab project
Wolfed Alex--the one that (at this point) is breaking an already-established universe and needs a complete outline revision

And I have a requested rewrite on Unquiet Neighbors to do for Brian Lewis at Spark as well.
Not to mention the Angry Bitter Angel novel project.

Small bites. I can do this. I think.

Fri, Jul. 18th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

  • Thu, 16:06: SyFy is apparently remaking 12 Monkeys as a series. It will either be awesome, or a trainwreck. I know which way I'm betting.
  • Thu, 17:12: I was going to do a blog post on writer entitlement, and then @kaitnolan did one for me: Well said on all fronts.
  • Thu, 21:43: RT @BascombJ: Far Orbit: Speculative Space Adventures. Kindle version on sale for $3.99. #FarOrbit #Amazon #scifi
  • Thu, 22:54: Having a hard time with words lately and feeling a bit of Imposter Syndrome. Probably a function of Out Of My Comfort Zone, but ugh.
  • Fri, 00:20: Well, I gotta say I do have some nice imagery in this thing, if nothing else. And I just cracked 1000 words. Finally.
  • Fri, 00:30: Part of my problem, I think, is this super-sketchy outline. I'm already at the midpoint and SO MUCH MORE needs to happen going forward.

Thu, Jul. 17th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

Wed, Jul. 16th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

Tue, Jul. 15th, 2014, 11:25 pm
Oh, look, another phishing attempt

At least this one has a colorful EZPass header!

Dear customer,

You have not paid for driving on a toll road. This invoice is sent repeatedly,
please service your debt in the shortest possible time.

The invoice can be downloaded here.
[Where here is some rvtravelbuddydirectory or something.]

Considering the fact that we haven't even taken the RV out since April, and noplace I've taken the RV has that particular email address, and noplace we've driven the RV is a "toll road" (in fact, noplace I actually drive, ever, has a toll road), color me suspicious.

Also, they have a cute little line of things at the bottom that look like links but aren't, one of which is labeled "phishing policy." LOOOOOL

And the originator is "," which is an Italian website. Considering the poor English and lousy punctuation, I am not exactly surprised.

Dudes. Try harder. Italian origination + some RV reservation site + EZPass = SCAM. Even someone as math-impaired as I am can figure that out.

Tue, Jul. 15th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

Tue, Jul. 15th, 2014, 10:04 am
On fridging. And message fic.

Hey, everyone? Just because a character's death causes another character pain does not make that a "fridging." [Warning: link goes to TVTropes.] And I say this as someone who has shamelessly fridged more than one character in RP. Trust me when I say I know what it is, and I know what it isn't.

A character death should cause other characters pain, if the dying character is someone they cared about. If it doesn't, then you're Doing It Wrong. There's nothing wrong with a character death providing angst and motivation to other characters. The problem comes when that is the only reason for that character's death, or if that character goes out in a lame way instead of an awesome way. There is a Right Way, and a Wrong Way, to do this.

And for someone to call
Delilah's death in "Hard Magic" a "fridging"
is hilariously wrong, and abusive of the definition, and--yep, I'm saying it--agenda-driven. But this gets back to the whole "message fiction" vs "storytelling" debate we seem to be having, and the fact that no one (including Larry Correia) is saying "don't write message fic." Rather, we are saying "don't write message fic while sacrificing story, because that is boring."

And Larry's books are positively stuffed with awesome storytelling, and that's why he wholly deserves his Hugo nomination.

Mon, Jul. 14th, 2014, 01:31 pm
"Deep Philosophical Content" in fiction

A comment on Twitter (hat tip to @TomCat1066) and one of Dave Farland's Daily Kicks got me thinking about what makes good stories.

Now. I write werewolf fiction (among other things), and I'm certainly not shy about it, or ashamed of it. I write the stories I want to read. And I definitely think that a cracking good story comes first. You have to have a Person in a Place with a Problem to even get off the ground, at least in the genre I write.

But I think at the end of the day, a story has to be about a little more than what's on the surface. A lot of my werewolf fiction is about the fundamental things that make us human and who the real monsters are. The outer struggles are a mirror for the inner struggles. In the last Ben story I wrote, he exorcises some very personal demons in the course of solving a murder mystery, overcoming a bugbear of his own that has nothing to do with why (outwardly) he's in that particular Place with that particular Problem. The Hell's Process Server story points up the fact that our inner demons are a whole lot more scary than than demons that actually dwell in Hell.

That being said... I don't actually set out to explore these philosophical issues when I sit down and outline a story. I don't say "I'm going to write a story about coming to terms with inner fears by dealing with outer ones." I say "I'm going to write a story where my protagonist has to confront something scary and awful" and then the inner fears of that character just sort of manifest in the writing. The best stories, for me, come organically from the natural marriage of Philosophy with Story. I don't shoehorn this stuff in. It just happens. And I think a story where it doesn't happen (at least on some level) fails--and conversely, a story where you have to shove Message with a trowel also fails.

It's a fine line we walk. And sometimes I wonder how well I do it.

Mon, Jul. 14th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

  • Mon, 10:21: Apparently the term "Hunter" is a SPN reference instead of a generic appellation. Who knew. I don't even WATCH SPN. Gah.

Sun, Jul. 13th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

  • Sat, 12:03: I think the phishers are getting dumber..
  • Sat, 12:59: ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: I just told the Hubby how the new story ends. His reaction: "You're mean." \o/
  • Sat, 13:47: I just thought of an awesome twist-within-the-twist for the end of this story. There is something wrong with me. #Iregretnothing
  • Sat, 14:22: Dear Real Estate people: Were I interested in selling my house, I would contact YOU. You contacting me makes you look desperate. #cutitout

Sat, Jul. 12th, 2014, 12:03 pm
I think the phishers are getting dumber..

Woke up to this in my inbox this morning:

Dear user,

Your account has been compromised Click here [where here is a link to some site I'm pretty sure I've never visited] to verify your account.

Thank you.

Service Team.

No indication of who it's from. No indication that they actually know who I am. Just... "dear user." And, yes, the period was missing after "compromised"--that's a direct copy/paste.


In other news, I woke up to a rejection in my inbox this morning and now I get to wait on markets to open up for that one because long story is long. So that's awesome.

Sat, Jul. 12th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

  • Fri, 13:23: Lab notes for this story lined out using 7-point system. I just hope I can keep it under 7K and preferably under 5K. Argh.

Fri, Jul. 11th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

  • Thu, 12:43: RT @wryson: The great thing about writing pulp is when I'm stuck I can just make up something ridiculous and I don't have to cut it out lat…
  • Thu, 14:50: Gaaaaah, this story.
  • Thu, 16:27: Just read "Flight of the Runewright" to get me in the right headspace for writing a horror story. @howardtayler is a genius.
  • Thu, 16:31: I'm not even going to bother tweaking my outline to make it not-Ben, because I was non-specific as to what the nightmares actually ARE.
  • Thu, 17:03: I also realized that my protag does not need a name. These people will never use it. He may use it himself, feeling his humanity slipping...
  • Thu, 20:19: These things are always more complicated than they look at first glance. Argh. #amoutlining

Thu, Jul. 10th, 2014, 02:50 pm
Gaaaaah, this story.

Okay, so. I have Established Normal, and Broken It. I have shot my protagonist in the chest. I have an outline right up to the Resolution.

And it has just now occurred to me, as I wrote these words, that I don't actually need this to be a Ben story and that the ending might be better if it's not. I can still do the "werewolf who has nightmares" plot, but I can end it differently--and in a way that makes it a more "horror" ending than a "dark fantasy."

I'm also thinking that it will be better and more immediate in first person than third, and interspersing it with Very Clinical Lab Notes will up the horror quotient as we realize that the people running this place do not see this guy whose eyes we're watching the story through as a person, but as a specimen.

And this way, I can leave him in the lab at the end, having triumphed over his nightmares--but still stuck in his own head. And... oh. Oh my.

MINE IS AN EVIL LAUGH. I am a terrible, terrible person, y'all.

Thu, Jul. 10th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

  • Wed, 14:46: RT @RobertDowneyJr: Yo. Susan. Me. Baby. Girl. November. Scorpio?
  • Wed, 17:45: I have had a severe Failure to Launch today. Ugh.
  • Wed, 22:09: Still wrestling with this outline. It'll be a good one if I can just WRITE it. Finally got Plot Turn 2 done. Now need Pinch 2 & Resolution.
  • Wed, 22:50: Pinch 2 in the can. I think I'm going to start scribbling the first draft of this at a NaNo pace tomorrow even without the Resolution.

Wed, Jul. 9th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

  • Tue, 18:04: RT @DelilahSDawson: me: *clicks PRINT* printer: YEAH, WELL, PEOPLE IN HELL WANT ICE WATER.
  • Wed, 09:46: I love waking up with a new piece of a story puzzle in place. This piece is going to be epic. Assuming I can pull it off.

Tue, Jul. 8th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

  • Mon, 14:02: Decisions, Decisions...
  • Tue, 09:22: Squinting at the POV in the new project and wondering just how I'm going to work it when the protag spends a good deal of the story asleep.

Mon, Jul. 7th, 2014, 02:02 pm
Decisions, Decisions...

I'm poking the Nightmare story's outline right now, and debating if I want this to be a Ben story or not. I've completed six stories this year, and two of them were Ben's. I adore the guy, but I may have him sit this one out, even though he's ideally suited for it because of his very specific triggers. However, the way I'm thinking about ending it isn't suitable for Ben, because it's a horror story and leaves the protag in a pretty bad place.

Understand that I'm not opposed, on principle, to leaving Ben in a bad place. I am me, after all, and I do terrible things to him in the name of fiction and RP all the freaking time.

What I am opposed to is breaking my universe, which is what the end I have in mind for this does. I have under 7000 words to work with, and the preferred length is between 4000-5000 words, so I don't have time to mount a rescue operation (or have him rescue himself). The end I have in mind leaves the protag (whoever he is) firmly tied to the railroad tracks (metaphorically speaking), and yep, that is an oncoming express train that will not stop for him.

*squint* Or not. I have just realized that my putative ending for this thing kind of sucks and should probably, actually, be Pinch One. And oh, holy crap, I just thought of something awesome to do with this--which will make Ben the perfect protagonist.

I've said it before: this right here is why I do these blog posts. Something about noodling ideas this way breaks things loose.

Mon, Jul. 7th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

Sun, Jul. 6th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

  • Sat, 13:08: No fiction acceptance yet, but one of my stories passed an initial slush round. I'll take it.
  • Sun, 09:01: Having a VERY good convention, all told. What this means in practical terms is that I have more fiction to write. SOON.

Sat, Jul. 5th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

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