This Week in Writing...

I'm a little over 46,000 words into the new Captain Bartholomew Quasar novel, and the story is moving right along. It feels good to be back in the saddle for the past 50 days, and I'm not even saddle sore (yet). Averaging only 300 words each day isn't much, but they add up over time. And for me, the words are a whole lot easier to sling when I'm spilling them on a daily basis. I don't know how I used to reach 1K/day, but maybe I'll return to that sweet spot after the school year winds down.

In other news, here's an overview of this week's short storying:
  • Rejections from Fireside Magazine, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, and Asimov's Science Fiction
  • Submissions out to Deep Magic, Strange Horizons, and Galaxy's Edge  
  • My tale about high school bullies and teleporting samurai has been shortlisted by Daily Science Fiction. Third time's the charm? One can hope.
I need to bulk up a couple stories before I send them back out on the submission circuit; that's a project for this weekend. I have yet to hear from Factor Four Magazine, Craft Literary, Mysterion, Intergalactic Medicine Show, and Nature: Futures.

My new audiobook Alienated is selling well, and I've been raffling off Audible claim codes in my newsletter. Production has wrapped on Into the Wastes, and it should be available from Amazon, Audible, and iTunes by the end of the month. Stay tuned for details.

Gunsmoke & Dragonfire

From the drought-plagued plains of Mars, to a post-apocalyptic Canada, to the familiar American West and Mexico, to other dimensions and other worlds weird and wonderful, an international cast of bestselling, award-winning, established, and emerging authors brings you 24 strange western tales.

*Special Pre-Order Price: 99¢  Amazon

Stories by: Robert Lee Beers, James Blakey, Laurence Raphael Brothers, Zach Chapman, Sara Codair, Eric S. Fomley, Milo James Fowler, Ron S. Friedman, Carrie Gessner, Paul Alex Gray, Jude-Marie Green, Brent A. Harris, Ethan Hedman, Joachim Heijndermans, Russell Hemmell, Liam Hogan, G. Scott Huggins, Sean Jones, Mackenzie Kincaid, R. Daniel Lester, Diane Morrison, Claire Ryan, Ricardo Victoria, and Stanley B. Webb

We invite you to explore these tales in the grand pulp fiction tradition: from weird westerns, to sci-fi and space westerns, to post-apocalyptic westerns, alternate history, and time travel.

Available March 15

Alienated - Now Available in Audio

Amazon     Audible     iTunes

Collects five dark speculative fiction stories:

"Insight" - A sculptor is able to see beyond our reality, but can she control her insatiable desires?

"In His Eyes" - On a farm in the distant future, an unwelcome visitor appears in the middle of a thunderstorm.

"Reverie" - Speech is the first sign of rebellion in a hive of highly evolved telepaths.

"Mo's" - The only racism that exists in this alternate history is between humans and Greys.

"Doppelgänger Mine" - A man is stalked by his horrifying double, and only one of them can survive.

2018: The Good Parts Version

This year wasn't half bad, writing-wise. I managed to stick to a daily regimen back in May as well as this past month, churning out some new fiction. Next year, I plan to be more consistent in that regard. It's so rewarding to see a few hundred words every day gradually add up. One page at a time... Never give up, never surrender!

Short Stories Published: 5
"The Last Human Child" @ Beneath Ceaseless Skies
"Captain Bartholomew Quasar and the Insurmountable Barrier of Space Junk" (reprint) @ Future Affairs Administration
"Up in Smoke" (reprint) in The Society of Misfit Stories, Volume II
"Live by the Ten, Die by the Gun" (reprint) in The Renegade
"Back for Blood" (reprint) in Crazy Town

New Short Stories Written: 31
(Thanks to StoryADay in May)

New Short Stories Submitted for Publication: 12

Novels Published: 2

Novel-in-Progress: 1
Captain Quasar Sequel - 40,000 words written so far

Audiobooks Released: 4

Audiobooks in Production: 3
The Suprahuman Secret
Deep Space
Into the Wastes

Blog Posts: 18

Short Story Submissions

I've got a dozen new stories out making the rounds, and for the first time, Flash Fiction Online shortlisted my work — twice. In the past, they've always rejected my stories outright, but this fall, they actually held onto a couple. According to the editor, they made it all the way to the final round before being cut loose. So close, yet so far, but it's renewed my determination to break into FFO someday soon.

Oddly enough, over the past few months, the same two stories were also shortlisted by Daily Science Fiction only to be rejected in the end. I've been published by DSF before, and I really wouldn't mind repeating that experience. But again the same two stories, like Moses, glimpsed the promised land of publication without proceeding any further.

What do these two tales have in common? Usually, I shy away from writing "message fiction." I don't set out to grind axes, promote ideologies, or mire my fiction in temperamental politics. I want my stories to be timeless-ish, not anchored to the angst of any given day. Even so, these stories stray fairly close to "message" territory (the voting process in one, materialism in the other).

So until these stories find homes, I'll be pondering what I'm doing right/wrong. And I'll keep writing the stories I want to tell, regardless of the current zeitgeist in science fiction.

Noveling Update

I'm writing a new Captain Quasar novel. What I'd originally planned to be a series of interrelated stories picking up after the events of The Space-Time Displacement Conundrum has instead morphed into a sprawling episodic adventure currently at 30,000 words and climbing. 

So far, each episode has been about 10,000 words or so, moving the story forward and toward Quasar's return to Earth. He's doing his darnedest to enlist as many humans as he can from the far-flung colonies, telling them what the evil Emperor Zahn did to their home planet and how they can help save it. In the process, Quasar has gathered a "fleet" of six ships and, as is his custom, made plenty of mistakes (and enemies) along the way.

This month, I've committed to writing every day, so I'm planning to have the fourth episode completed by New Year's. If I can keep the momentum going, I should have this project ready for publication by next spring. But for now, my priority is to continue enjoying every step of the process, telling the stories I want to tell and exercising my writing muscles on a daily basis again.

Crazy Town: Now Available

My grisly Mercer tale "Back for Blood" greets a whole new batch of readers in this collection of fantastical crime noir. Here's the description:

There are no limits inside CRAZY TOWN. Here you can bet or buy the farm in the same breath. Ain't nobody believin' anyone here's playing with a full deck. If you stop in for a visit, you'll find 13 daring folks who step into the dark, then poke the dirtiest corner of it; 13 inquisitive minds who dig into the slime, then stir up whatever twitches; 13 cynical souls who may not be able to save themselves but just might redeem something outta their miserable lives. 13 authors deliver explosive, haunted action high on adrenaline. These are definitely not Mayberry's streets. Pray they aren't yours. You've been warned.

Intrigued? Read a free preview right here.

Three Audiobooks in the Works

A couple years ago, I wasn't sure what to expect when I started down the audiobook path. I'd enjoyed listening to books from the local library for years, but I didn't know how to go about getting my own work produced. Lucky for me, there's the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), and they've made the whole process not only easy but enjoyable. So far, I've had seven of my books transmuted into audio, and I've got three more now in the pipeline:

Hearing the final product is always a bit surreal — my words in a stranger's voice — but these are talented strangers, many of them with a background in acting both on stage and screen, and their vocal talents bring new life to my stories. I've heard them in my head a certain way for years, but now I get to hear them interpreted in a new way. Of course I criticize my wordsmithing: "Why did I write that like that?" But there are moments when I can't help but sit back and smile, pleased by a certain turn of phrase I created — and instantly chagrined by my own arrogance.

Receiving auditions is exciting, knowing someone out there in cyberspace is interested in producing my work. But it's also nerve-wracking. Despite the fact that I've had so many stories rejected hundreds of times prior to publication, I don't like being the guy who does the rejecting. I keep it to the point: "Thank you for your audition, but I've picked another producer for this project." (Always sent after I've actually picked the producer, honesty being the best policy and all.) Surprisingly, many send me a thank-you note for letting them know.

So, stay tuned for these upcoming releases. Alienated should be available later this month, with Deep Space and The Suprahuman Secret out in early 2019.

Two Reprints Sold This Week

My Mercer tale "Back for Blood" and Coyote Cal tale "El Diablo de Paseo Grande" will be greeting the world again, this time in the Crazy Town and Gunsmoke & Dragonfire anthologies, respectively, due to hit stores this December/January. 

Crazy Town is a collection of hardboiled noir with a fantastical twist—True Detective meets The Twilight Zone. Mercer should fit right in. Gunsmoke & Dragonfire is a collection of fantasy western stories that lean toward the dark side. Coyote Cal & Big Yap, denizens of the weird west, will be in their element.

In other news, I've got a dozen of my StoryADay flash-sized tales out making the rounds on the pro circuit. A couple have been shortlisted, so that's encouraging. You'll be the first to know when I make a sale. Until then, never give up, never surrender!

New Release: The Gifted Ones

The Suprahuman Secret is out. An assassin is targeting the gifted ones in Little Tokyo for extermination. At the same time, a dangerous yakuza clan has singled out private eye Charlie Madison, determined to squeeze him for information about superpowered individuals — that no one should know exist. 

With a fresh bounty on his head courtesy of the Russian bratva, it's in Madison's best interest to stay under the radar. But that doesn't keep him from trying to help a gifted young woman who shows up on his doorstep late one night claiming she's being hunted. 

And it doesn't stop Federal agents from rounding up Madison and probing his repressed memories from the war. Years ago, while stationed on the Eastern Front, he supposedly crossed paths with the enigmatic Dr. X, who created the world's first suprahumans. Problem is, Madison has no memory of ever meeting her. 

Charlie Madison's history has returned to haunt him. While underworld powers vie for territorial domination and the gifted ones struggle to survive, he'll have to do what he does best: put the pieces together and solve the mystery. But this time, he's fighting against ghosts from his past, and the stakes have never been higher.

Now Available:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   iBooks   Kobo
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