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.

Fri, Aug. 1st, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

Thu, Jul. 31st, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

  • Wed, 12:35: I'm pretty sure that Jesse Ventura has damaged his own reputation via the lawsuit far more than Chris Kyle did in his book. Good job, there.
  • Thu, 10:02: First of five expected responses this week dropped today. They can't all be rejections. ...Right?
  • Thu, 10:12: Autoplay is EVIL. Why in the hell do websites still do this? If I want to play your damn video, I will push the Play button.
  • Thu, 11:54: First round of red-pen edits done. That was... suspiciously easy.
  • Thu, 11:56: This leads me to think there's something deeply wrong with the story that I just can't see.

Wed, Jul. 30th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

  • Tue, 22:54: RT @SarahThyre: It's time for us all to admit the "endorphin rush" you get after exercise is just an overwhelming sense of relief it's over.
  • Tue, 23:07: 1st readthrough/editing pass done on nightmare story. It is improved! I added a line that makes it even MORE horrible for my protag. Go, me.
  • Tue, 23:08: That line also makes it hit the "unreliable narrator" note I need.

Tue, Jul. 29th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

Mon, Jul. 28th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

Sun, Jul. 27th, 2014, 10:02 pm

Finally, finally, finally. The nightmare story has an END at the bottom of its first draft, and there is much rejoicing. This was a really difficult story to write, out of my comfort zone on every possible count. It came in a smidge over 4100 words.

I hope it doesn't suck. I know I've said more than once that there's some nice writing here. Tomorrow, I'll start tearing into it and also send the Hubby off with a copy to peruse on his overnight.

But for now? I'm just going to... collapse.


Sun, Jul. 27th, 2014, 12:07 pm
My tweets

Sat, Jul. 26th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

  • Fri, 22:46: It is surprisingly difficult to write a good story wherein the protagonist is tied to a chair unable to move the entire time.
  • Sat, 07:55: Ahaha. A piece of Plot Puzzle just fell right into my lap.

Thu, Jul. 24th, 2014, 12:00 pm
My tweets

  • Wed, 20:05: I have subbed three stories today. I should probably get on writing the new one, huh.
  • Wed, 20:06: Fortunately, I've realized that I'm about a third of the way into it, and therefore it's suddenly not quite so overwhelming anymore.
  • Thu, 02:35: No one takes AP seriously b/c of really poorly-constructed headlines like this. *hat-tip to @gabeygoh* WTF

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.

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