Mars Landing

So, remember a year ago when I said my wife was going to Mars?

Well, she’s on her way back. Tomorrow morning, she steps out of the dome, back to Earth; still the red-rock slopes of Mauna Loa, but with no spacesuit on, and the breeze in her face for the first time in a year.

I am excited beyond words. So far beyond words that I’ve had no brainspan to update this blog, not even after the amazing time I had at my first Worldcon. No promises that I’ll have a monthly update this week, either. I may have some downtime on Hawaii while she spends her days in debriefing, but I rather expect some internet scarcity!

If you want to read more about her mission, check out her blog or the mission webpage. I’d also love to point you toward the kickstarter for “Red Heaven,” an upcoming documentary about the mission. Both my wife and I have already worked with the creators & crew, and they’re amazing people, excited about the science and project. Consider supporting them – or just enjoy the trailer!

July 2016 Update

How was your July? Was it amazing? Mine was!

  1. My story “Sweeter than Lead” came out at PodCastle. Neo-Lovecraftian dark fantasy about addiction, succession and malevolent timelines!
  2. My story “The Time Cookie Wars” came out at Flash Fiction Online1. Black comedy about time travel and delicious cookies!
  3. I finished the first draft of the Conquistador Dragon novel: 106,000 words of Age of Exploration epic fantasy, now titled The Cannon and the Coin!
  4. I got my Worldcon panel schedule!
  5. I attended Mary Robinette Kowal‘s short story intensive workshop. Folks this class is fantastic. My favorite parts were the tools for expanding ideas into stories at turbo speed, and especially the methods for plot structuring. And in the process I wrote up the openings to two super exciting new stories.

I think that’s it? It sure feels like enough! This coming month will bring yet more of the joyful chaos. Two weeks until Worldcon! And after that, only one week until my wife returns from Mars!

Time Cookie Wars

Have you ever had one of those “Past Self, why did you mess this up for me?” moments? Of course you have. Past Self is a jerk.

Well, the time has come to get your vengeance on Past Self, because my story “The Time Cookie Wars” is now available at Flash Fiction Online! If you like the internet’s best short-short fiction, I strongly recommend a subscription to their fine magazine.

Go enjoy a quick little bite of black humor, then continue below the fold for some brief extra background and story notes. May contain spoilers.

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Sweeter than Lead

Ladies and gentlemen and everyone! Buckle up, and close your eyes, because my short story Sweeter than Lead has gone live in audio form on PodCastle, the original fantasy fiction podcast! (Text version forthcoming.)

Sweeter than Lead is a dark fantasy about succession, addiction, and malevolent prophecies. With worldbuilding so thick it will go back in time and drown you as a child.

Plenty of story notes on this one; worldbuilding this dense comes with extra layers, sources of inspiration, and so forth. Spoilers abound, of course, so stop right here until you’ve read or heard the story…

Continue reading

Almost there!

Tonight, the Untitled Conquistador Dragon Novel passed 100,000 words.100kWords

It’s long enough to be a proper novel. A big milestone, but not quite the end. It needs another 2.25 scenes, probably 5-10k more words.

Holy crap. I’ve been working on my first novel draft since mid-March, and it’s going to be finished by the middle of next week.

Story Sale: Sweeter than Lead

I am thrilled to announce another short story sale to one of my favorite markets! “Sweeter than Lead” will be appearing late this summer in PodCastle, the original fantasy fiction podcast!

It’ll be free online in audio (and text) when it goes live, so once again you’ll all be able to enjoy the story the moment it comes out! This one is a bit different from anything I’ve published so far: it’s a neo-Lovecraftian1 dark fantasy about seers, prophecies, and what it means to foresee possible futures. If some kind of worldbuilding-per-page competition existed, this tale would reach across timelines to strangle its competitors’ authors in their beds.

Because that’s just the kind of story it is.

Worldcon 74 Panel Schedule

I just received my panel schedule for Worldcon! I can’t wait for the chance to go up there and share my knowledge, and I hope to see lots of you there!

The Real Lab

Thursday Aug. 18, 18:00 – 19:00, room 2208 (Kansas City Convention Center)

Sometimes things go very right in the lab, and sometimes things go horribly wrong. Professional scientists discuss the sometimes terrifying, often hilarious, crazy things that can happen when working in the lab. How does science happen and is it really as clean cut and precise as we are led to believe? How has science organized itself so that error corrects solid knowledge out of the human stew?

Dr Helen Pennington, Dr. Ronald Taylor, MR. Donald Douglas Fratz, Benjamin C. Kinney, Sharon Joss (M)

Thinking Through Neuroscience in SF and Fantasy

Saturday Aug. 20, 16:00 – 17:00, room 2209 (Kansas City Convention Center)

Neuroscience is a complex and rapidly developing area of technological advancement. We look at some of the recent advances as well as discussing how these are reinterpreted in SF and Fantasy media.

S.B. Divya (M), Anna Kashina, Benjamin C. Kinney, Caroline M. Yoachim

I Don’t Believe In Science

Sunday Aug. 21, 13:00 – 14:00, room 2204 (Kansas City Convention Center)

All too often we hear about people who “Don’t Believe in Science,” but science isn’t about belief.  A discussion about why talking about science in terms of belief does science, and faith, a disservice.

Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ1, Carl Fink, Benjamin C. Kinney, Dr. Heather Urbanski (M), Renée Sieber

June 2016 update

Heyyyy, it’s monthly update time! Everyone’s favorite time.

Maybe someone’s favorite time?

Either way, it’s been a good month! Chock-full of exclamation points:

  1. My story “The First Confirmed Case of Non-Corporeal Recursion: Patient Anita R.” came out in Strange Horizons! I’m super proud of this one!
  2. I sold two stories! “The Time Cookie Wars” to Flash Fiction Online, and “Shiplight” to Metaphorosis.
  3. I returned to the Fourth Street Fantasy convention. I got to speak on a panel! I learned tons of things (including 45 specific action items for my novel)! I got to talk to lots of amazing people!
  4. I revised 2 short stories, and drafted one new piece of flash!
  5. The novel is on track! Currently at 76,000 words, and I’m hoping to finish the first draft at the end of July, if it doesn’t end up running long.

Story Sale: Time Cookie Wars

Have you ever had one of those “Past Self, why did you mess this up for me?” moments? Of course you have. Past Self is a jerk.

Well, the time has come to get your vengeance on Past Self, because my story “The Time Cookie Wars”1 has sold to Flash Fiction Online!

Publication date not yet set, but I’ll certainly let you all know as soon as I have an estimate.

This week has been stuffed with writing success, between this acceptance, last week’s one, and a Revise & Resubmit offer from one of my favorite markets. I am here to rock your short fiction universe!