Category Archives: Short Stories

October 2016 Update

Brief post this month, because I’m in the middle of a 2-week academic conference travel loop.

  • Attended the Viable Paradise 20th reunion, and gave a neuroscience talk on how to understand the brain. For the countless among you who missed it, fear not: I’m working on adapting my talk into a nonfiction article for various publications!
  • Finished up a new short story, “The Hammer’s Prayer.” It’s in the second-draft stage, will need some more thought & revision before it’ll be ready for launch.
  • Sold my first reprint, of a short story that didn’t get spread far on its first sale!
  • Continuing apace with second-draft revisions of the novel. May not hit my December 1 self-imposed deadline, but I won’t be too far behind it.
    • Thus, instead of doing NaNoWriMo, I’m doing NaNoFiReMo. (That’s “Finish Revising.” Or “fire,” as needed.) But no promises since I have multiple end-of-November deadlines.
  • Current short story status: 11 submissions circulating, 3 of them shortlisted.

Reprint Sale: The Wind & The Spark

I’m pleased to announce that my first published short story, “The Wind and the Spark,” will appear as a reprint in Digital Science Fiction! This is one of my older stories, but I’m thrilled to re-release it: it’s currently only available in a paid issue of a magazine that went defunct before it published me, so not a lot of people have read it. Stay tuned for a publication date.

Shiplight

My latest publication, Shiplight, is up today at the fine Metaphorosis Magazine! Alongside some absolutely gorgeous cover art by Vincent Coviello.

This was originally one of the first stories I ever wrote; the first words hit the page in June 2012, but it’s been vastly revised over the years. It’s a science fiction story set on humankind’s first extrasolar colony world, about fear and politics and the inevitability of generational divides.

I have some story notes below the cut, but they may contain spoilers, so read the story first!

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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 now available also.)

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

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!

Story Sale: Shiplight

I’m thrilled to announce the sale of my story “Shiplight” to Metaphorosis, a magazine focused on beautifully written speculative fiction!

This is a story about humanity’s first extrasolar colony, and about generational divides. When a lucky few escape the bounds of Earth to settle on an uninhabited planet, what becomes of their children, who never knew the world that defines their parents?

Publication is planned for August or September, and I’ll let you all know when I have an exact date!

Non-Corporeal Recursion

My story “The First Confirmed Case of Non-Corporeal Recursion: Patient Anita R.” is up today on Strange Horizons!

(These author notes contain no spoilers for anything beyond the story’s first page.)

This piece doesn’t have a lot of secrets, no extensive authors’ notes. I might clarify that none of Anita’s science references are things I personally do; other than the choice of institution, her science life is not a window into mine. Well, except for the windowless basement lab. TRUE SUFFERINGS of a scientist’s life.

This story means a lot to me, but I don’t want to feed you an interpretation. Hopefully it touches you in some way that resonates with your own life. So rather than telling you what the story means to me, I can give a bit of its history:

I wrote this piece in fall of 2015, for the Codex 12th Annual Halloween Contest, where it took second place. The contest had a time limit and two rules: include something halloween-related (however vaguely or thematically), and use seeds given by fellow writers. I received the seed “the Halloween candy that you liked the least,” thus the role of candy corn1. I was more inspired by the chance to write something halloween-ish. When I began, I didn’t yet have a conflict or a plot, but I did have a character concept, one that had percolated in the back of my mind for a while:

In so many classic ghost stories, the spirit repeats and reenacts the moment of their death, again and again. I wondered: what – if anything – would that be like from the ghost’s point of view? And is there any way the ghost could move beyond that haunting state?