Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

Shimmer gets reviewed

Our first issue of Shimmer was just reviewed in the Internet Review of Science Fiction. You have to log in to view it, so I’ll post a quick excerpt here.

Headlining the issue is Dario Ciriello’s Valley of the Shadow, a zombie story with a difference. Complex, subtle, and powerful, one man makes his way in a world where the dead walk again. These zombies aren’t eating brains, though. They walk with us, watch us, silently reproaching the living.

This is characteristic of the other material in Shimmerzine: contemporary fantasy with a dark edge, from capering death clowns to predators among sheep-like shoppers. The lightest piece here is a fun little take on the rapture.

I’m particuarly proud because I was the editor for Dario’s story.

Glimpses of The Uncanny Valley

The Uncanny Valley is part of a thesis by Doctor Masahiro Mori which “represents the point at which a person observing the creature or object in question sees something that is nearly human, but just enough off-kilter to seem eerie or disquieting.”

The article is targetted at SF and Fantasy writers but I couldn’t help being struck by how much the same ideas relate to puppetry. The article suggests that movement is more important than simple appearance in affecting our comfort level when encountering something non-human.

Orycon

What the heck is that? It’s a Science Fiction and Fantasy festival held in Portland, OR. I went today and will drop in for bits of it over the weekend. I also managed to write 1700 words. Yay me!

Oh, and Rob is home for the entire weekend. How glorious is that?

Works in Progess

Short Fiction


Beauty Will Come
:Prequel to “Beauty and the Beast” from the Beast’s mother’s POV.

Waiting for Rain: In India, a farmer has beggared himself to pay for his daughter’s wedding and can no longer pay his weather bills.

Shades of Milk and Honey: Regency Romance, with fantasy. Magic is a woman’s art, like painting or music. Jane uses it to prove that Mr. Dunkirk is wooing her and her sister at the same time.

Novels

Virus Attached SF murder/mystery – Scott Huang and his AI partner Metta are trying to solve a murder, when Metta’s chasis (containing her memory) is stolen. She is rebooted from her last back-up, which occurred six hours previously. She and Huang must find her original version before the perpetrator can use it to hack into the police department and erase all evidence of his crime.


Good Housekeeping:
Contemporary Fantasy. The Faerie Queen sent a human changeling, Grace, back to try to keep the old ways alive in the world. Grace uses the internet to manage a network of Goodwives who let brownies, elves and other housefolk live in their homes. But the Unseelie Court has decided to drive out all of the housefolk to diminish the Faerie Queen’s power. Grace has to try to save the Housefolk while adjusting to life as a human.

In Submission

Short Fiction

Body Language : Near-future. Saskia, a puppeteer, is called in to help solve a kidnapping because the only witness is eDawg, a toy for which she did the motion-capture work. The kidnappers demand that the ransom be sent in on eDawg, and Saskia has to manipulate the puppet while pretending to be nothing more than a toy.

Some Other Day – Josie’s father managed to rid the world of mosquitoes when she was little. The unintended consequences still affect both the adult Josie and the world.

Trip, Trap, Tripping – The three Billy Goats Gruff retold in a NY walk-up, with a single mother and her tap-dancing daughters as the goats, and the guy downstairs as the troll. (I want to do a series of these, but darn, where do I market them?)

This Little Pig – Near-future. After the Oil Wars, private vehicles are largely considered taboo, but a young boy in the Netherlands covets a 1952 MG-TD. He starts work at a pig farm/methane factory where things go horribly, horribly wrong.

Coffee Sensibility
– A five part serial. Jane Austen in a Pacific NW coffee shop.

My Friend Anna – 61 word flash involving a tapeworm, bathtub and pregnancy.

Horizontal Rain – A New York contractor discovers that his job in Iceland is being held up because the crew believes in trolls.

Birthright – Near-future flash. In a world with severe birth control regulations, a couple has to decide whether to give up their birthright in exchange for enough money to finish college.

Death Comes But Twice – Epistolary short. A Georgian-era Doctor has discovered a cure for death, but it only works for twenty-four hours.

A Hand in My Colon
– Bitter monologue by dying puppet.

The Promise of Chocolate – An unhappy single mother makes cupcakes for her son’s birthday. One of them contains cyanide.

Changed Itinerary – UFOlogist is abducted by aliens.

Salt of the Earth
– On a sodium-poor world, where every scrap of salt is saved, a salt merchant’s daughter is killed by a salt-overdose.

Chrysalis : The Husiths undergo Chrysalis to become an adult, but the enzymes involved in the process scramble their memories. As a culture, they are obsessed with documenting their pupaehood, which is when the serious work takes place, before becoming a playful adult. Geroth is determined to put off his Chrysalis so he can finish his mathmatical treatise. He hires a human documentarian to help him retain his memories after Chrysalis.

Novel

Journey to the East: The Legend of the Monkey King YA Novel – Two American kids find themselves caught up in the oldest legend in China as they struggle to rescue their baby sister from the Bone Demon. (Book One in Series)

Progress report

I only wrote 1746 words today, but I made several good discoveries. At one point when Grace’s daughter, Cassandra, is grousing about something she thinks “a bear like her father,” and I suddenly realized that Grace met her husband while he was an enchanted bear.

I don’t know if it will continue to make sense tomorrow, but at the moment it opens up all sorts of new opportunities for me. I’m very excited.

I say only 1746, but really I just need to do 1700 a day, so I’m right on track.

Total new Word count: 3756

Audio Review – Ian Creasy

My review of Ian Creasey’s audio fiction is online at sffaudio.com.

There are points in my day when I want a treat, a small snack or a little bit of delight. Ian Creasey has a collection of audio bon-bons on his website which brought a smile to my face.

Better healing through Science-Fiction

Now really, when someone tells you that they are going to put an electrode on you and use electricity to shoot medicine into your body, doesn’t that sound like you’ve wandered into a SF book? And yet, that’s what they did to me today. Apparently, Iontophoresis is very effective at dealing with inflamed joints and such. So after doing physical therapy which involved such high-tech gadgets as giant rubber bands and foam pool toys, they attached electrodes to my arm and handed me the control. It wasn’t as shiny as I like my SF gadgets, but I guess not all the toys in the future will be over-designed the way they appear in the media.

Editing and proofing


During every spare minute I am working on getting Shimmer ready to go to press. I think we’re pretty close to the final draft now.

If you like science fiction and fantasy, buy a copy.

Current Fiction Efforts

I just wrote this up for a writer’s website, and thought you all might be interested in seeing what stories I have in the works.

Shorts In Submission

Some Other DayInterzone: Josie’s father managed to rid the world of mosquitoes when she was little. The unintended consequences still affect both the adult Josie and the world.

Trip, Trap, TrippingQuantum Muse: The three Billy Goats Gruff retold in a NY walk-up, with a single mother and her tap-dancing daughters as the goats, and the guy downstairs as the troll. (I want to do a series of these, but darn, where do I market them?)

This Little PigAsimov’s: Near-future. After the Oil Wars, private vehicles are largely considered taboo, but a young boy in the Netherlands covets a 1952 MG-TD. He starts work at a pig farm/methane factory where things go horribly, horribly wrong.

Coffee SensibilityStory House: A five part serial. Jane Austen in a Pacific NW coffee shop.

My Friend AnnaVestal Review: 63 word flash involving a tapeworm, bathtub and pregnancy.

Portrait of AriStrange Horizons: While pulling an all-nighter, an art major realizes that his girlfriend has been altering his memory to hide the fact that she is not human.

Horizontal RainLady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet: A New York contractor discovers that his job in Iceland is being held up because the crew believes in trolls.

BirthrightTalebones: Near-future flash. In a world with severe birth control regulations, a couple has to decide whether to give up their birthright in exchange for enough money to finish college.

Death Comes But TwiceGlimmertrain: Epistolary short. A Georgian-era Doctor has discovered a cure for death, but it only works for twenty-four hours.

A Hand in My ColonFull Unit Hookup: Bitter monologue by dying puppet.

The Promise of ChocolateAtoise: An unhappy single mother makes cupcakes for her son’s birthday. One of them contains cyanide.

Changed ItineraryApex Digest: UFOlogist is abducted by aliens.

Salt of the EarthWOTF: On a sodium-poor world, where every scrap of salt is saved, a salt merchant’s daughter is killed by a salt-overdose.

Awaiting Revision

Journey to the East: The Legend of the Monkey King YA Novel – Two American kids find themselves caught up in the oldest legend in China as they struggle to rescue their baby sister from the Bone Demon. (Book One in Series)

Virus Attached SF murder/mystery – Scott Huang and his AI partner Metta are trying to solve a murder, when Metta’s chasis (containing her memory) is stolen. She is rebooted from her last back-up, which occurred six hours previously. She and Huang must find her original version before the perpetrator can use it to hack into the police department and erase all evidence of his crime.

Works in Progress

Body Language : Near-future. Lena, a puppeteer, is called in to help solve a kidnapping because the only witness is eDawg, a toy for which she did the motion-capture work. The kidnappers demand that the ransom be sent in on eDawg, and Lena has to manipulate the puppet while pretending to be nothing more than a toy.

Waiting for Rain: In India, a farmer has beggared himself to pay for his daughter’s wedding and can no longer pay his weather bills.

Shades of Milk and Honey: Regency Romance, with fantasy. Magic is a woman’s art, like painting or music. Jane uses it to prove that Mr. Dunkirk is wooing her and her sister at the same time.

Good Housekeeping: Novel. Contemporary Fantasy. The Faerie Queen sent a human changeling, Grace, back to try to keep the old ways alive in the world. Grace uses the internet to manage a network of Goodwives who let brownies, elves and other housefolk live in their homes. But the Unseelie Court has decided to drive out all of the housefolk to diminish the Faerie Queen’s power. Grace has to try to save the Housefolk while adjusting to life as a human.

Boot Camp is over

This was an amazing experience. I wrote a story here, that I truly believe I would not have been able to write before the workshop. I hope that I retain even half of what I learned.

The first two days we were in a lecture with about fifty other people. At the end of Day One, Mr. Card gave us an assignment.

Take 5 notecards and come back tomorrow with five complete stories–complete as in, begining, middle, end, but not Flash Fiction. These are the Hollywood Pitches of complete ideas.
2 based on research
2 based on observation
1 based on an interview

On Day 2 we picked and presented one of those, knowing that we would spend all of Day 3 writing it to turn in Thursday morning.

On Thursday, I was the third story in the lineup. We went around the room with people saying very nice things, and offering comments. And then it was Orson Scott Card’s turn. The first words out of his mouth were, “This is a nearly perfect story.

I was hard-pressed to appear calm. Especially when he went on to say, “This is fictional anthropology at its best.” “Marvelous story”

And then he went on to point out the holes in it. But, they are all things that I feel very comfortable in handling. One of them turned out to be a stupid omission on my part from writing at three o’clock in the morning.

I’m exhausted now, but very excited. I’m looking forward to my next story, and to polishing this and sending it out.

Sold!

I just found out that I sold my short story Rampion to The First Line! This is my third sale.

And on the same day, I found out that I won the latest round of the Liberty Hall Flash Fiction challenges. No money for this one, but it was a lot of fun.

Friends and family

Rob and I went to brunch with our friend MaryClaire, and had great conversation ranging through politics to food to fashion. We like her a lot.

After she took off, I worked on an layout for David C. for a bit he’s doing for the Portland Monthly. It was fairly easy and a ice break from routine.

I also wrote a new flash fiction piece for the Liberty Hall Challenge.

In the evening, Rob and I went to dinner with his folks and Don and Yan at Higgins. Again, it was a really delightful evening. Don brought a bottle of wine from 1964 in honor of Rob’s 40th, since his folks weren’t here for the actual day.

Pat and Glenn are heading back to Hawaii after a trip that was much, much too short.

A painfully detailed account of my day.

Since someone complained that I had nothing to talk about yesterday. I will go into excruciating detail about today.

I got up and went through my email. I ate breakfast, a bowl of Barbara’s shredded oat squares with 2% milk. Then I returned to the computer.

I worked on the Irvington Home Tour program book today. I got dressed. Then I continued working on the Home Tour program book. I ate a leftover slice of focaccia bread and a banana for lunch. After that, I worked on the Home Tour program book some more. Finally, I ventured out of the house around 2:30. This entailed a trip to Kinko’s to print things out on the laser printer, always a delight. Kinko’s has a blue and white sign on the outside of the building with the word “Kinko’s” written on it. The interior of the building is lit with florescent lights and contains copier, computers and people. I sat there for an hour, made 12 prints and 20 photocopies. Then I left.

When I got home, I found two pieces of junkmail (Comcast and The Business Journal) as well as a phone bill.

I also won the Liberty Hall Flash Fiction Contest, by one vote. If you would like to read the piece I wrote I’ll send it to you.

I will now return to the Irvington Home Tour program book and place advertisements in the appropriate spaces.

Games Night

Jonathan had planned on having a games night tonight at his place, but at the last minute had to cancel becasue he had to stay at work editing an episode. So, we just convened at my place instead.

We played Celebrity, which I had never played before. It works like this: The guests are divided into teams. Each player writes down the names of three to five celebrities (or famous books, or fictional characters) on slips of paper, folds the papers in half and puts them in a pot. In the first round, you can use words and movements to let people know what celebrity you have drawn from the pot. In the second round, you can use one word (and no other sounds) and movement. In the final round, you can only use movement. Your teammates try to guess, while you try to go through as many pieces of paper as you can in a minute.

It was a lot of fun. The last of my guests left about fifteen minutes ago, around 1 a.m. They wanted to help clean up, but my kitchen is so tiny that it’s just not a good plan to have more than one person working in there at a time. I used one of Grandma’s lines, “It’ll give me something to do after you’re gone.”

And I’d also like to add a special thank you to my mother who taught me the importance of having emergency party food on hand. People were impressed with the spread I pulled off with only an hours notice.