Woot! Escape Pod has accepted Jaiden’s Weaver for their podcast. I love Escape Pod. It’s my go-to audio fiction source when I’m building puppets so I’m delighted that “Jaiden’s Weaver” is going to appear there.
Originally, this story appeared in Mike Brotherton’s Diamonds in the Sky anthology and you can read the entire story there. Or you can wait and listen to it.
Here’s the teaser.
I was never one of those girls who fell in love with horses. For one thing, on our part of New Oregon they were largely impractical animals. Most of the countryside consisted of forests attached to sheer hills and you wanted to ride something with a little more clinging ability. So from the time I was, well, from the time I can remember I wanted a teddy bear spider more than I wanted to breathe.
The problem is that teddy bear spiders were not cheap, especially not for a pioneer family trying to make a go of it.
Mom and Dad had moved us out of Landington in the first wave of expansion, to take advantage of the homesteading act. Our new place was way out on the eastern side of the Olson mountains where Dad had found this natural level patch about halfway up a forested ridge, so we got sunshine all year round, except for the weeks in spring and autumn when the shadow of our planet’s rings passed over us. Our simple extruded concrete house had nothing going for it except a view of the valley, which faced due south to where the rings were like a giant arch in the sky. Even as a twelve-year-old, angry at being taken away from our livewalls in town to this dead structure, I fell in love with the wild beauty of the trees clinging to the sheer faces of the valley walls.
I’m over the moon about this sale and it also marks a couple of interesting firsts for me that I thought were worth sharing
“Kiss Me Twice” is my first novella sale
It began life as my first NaNoWriMo effort
It’s my first story with a recurring character
Way back in 2004, I was living in Iceland and working on Lazytown. Rob hadn’t come over to join me yet, so when I got out of filming, there was a lot of free time. I’d had this idea in a short story form but had quickly realized that it wanted to be longer so had held it for NaNo. When I finished the month, I had a 60,000 word novel which needed 20,000 words added to it to be viable.
I tucked it in a drawer and went on with other things, intending to get some distance from it before returning to tackle rewrites.
The next year, I was back in the US and attended Orson Scott Card’s literary BootCamp. He announced the IGMS project, which sounded awesome, so I decided to write a story for that. In the story “Body Language,” I reused Metta, the AI character from the novel.
AfterShades of Milk and Honeycame out, I realized that I was likely going to focus on fantasy novels for awhile. But I had 60,000 words of an SF novel sitting on my hard drive. I figured that I could either add 20k to it or subtract 20k to get it down to novella length.
Cutting commenced. I dropped backstory and subplots, rolled characters together, tossed red herrings and employed many wonderful beta readers. The resulting novella is 27,600 and, I think, much better than the original.
Let me show you.
Here’s the opening for “Kiss Me Twice,” which will be in the April issue of Asimov’s Continue reading ›
(I actually wrote this post in August but saved it as a draft instead of publishing. Whoops!)
Way back in 2005, I attended OSC’s Literary BootCamp with Rick Novy. He and I had known each other online, but this was the first time we met in person. We’ve stayed in touch over the years and when he asked me if I had anything that might work for2020 Visions, his anthology of near-future SF, I was delighted.
I was even happier when he accepted “Birthright,” especially after I saw the rest of the TOC.
Mary Robinette Kowal – Birthright
Sheila Finch – The Persistence of Butterflies
Randy Henderson – A Shelter for Living Things
Jason S. Ridler – Showing Light
Ernest Hogan – Radiation is Groovy, Kill the Pigs
David Lee Summers – The Revelation of Thought
Jeff Spock – Teh Afterl1fe (This is not a typo – Rick)
Emily Devenport – If the Sun’s at Five O’Clock, It Must be Yellow Daisies
Cat Rambo – Therapy Buddha
Jack Mangan – Dead Rookies
David Boop – Organ Cloning While You Wait
Spencer Ellsworth – The Black Plague of Our Generation
Gareth L. Powell – The Bigger The Star, The Faster It Burns
Alethea Kontis – Pocket Full of Posey
Alex Wilson – Nervewrecking
David Gerrold – Time Capsule 2120: Actual Comments from Lunar Tourists
Here’s an excerpt of the story.
Restless within the confines of the waiting room, Helen looked out the window of the Birthright Clinic. Her fingers twisted her wedding ring as if she were spinning straw into gold.
Her husband read an outdated magazine with a relaxed air that magnified her tension. Light caressed Daniel’s freckled cheekbones. He looked up, as if he felt the weight of her gaze. “Are you all right?”
“Of course.” She smiled at him.
He closed the magazine. “We don’t have to do this today.”
During my lunch break from recording today, I checked email and had an acceptance from Daily Science Fiction for my story “American Changeling.” I’ll tell you, a short story sale makes lunch seem a whole lot tastier.
There are two things about this sale that make me giggle. 1) I’m in the middle of recording a Seanan McGuire novel about a changeling. Totally different style of changeling, but it’s still funny. 2) This is not a science fiction story.
I’ll let you know when the story is out, but here’s a teaser.
Half-consciously, Kim put a hand up to cover her new nose ring. It pissed her parents off no end that she could tolerate touching cold iron and they couldn’t.
Iron still made her break out sometimes, but didn’t burn her. It had taken forever to find someone to make an iron nose ring, but the effort would be totally worth it.
“Kimberly Anne Smith,” Mom’s voice caught her in the foyer as surely as if she’d been called by her true name. “I’ve been worried sick. Do you know what time it is?”
“11:49.” Kim dropped her hand and turned to face Mom, her Doc Martens making a satisfactory clomping on the hardwood floor. “I’m here. Home before midnight. No one with me.” Sometimes she thought about bringing friends home to show them what her parents really looked like after their glamour dropped.
I am very pleased to report that my first foray into the Lovecraftian mythos has sold to Innsmouth Free Press. Innsmouth Free Press is a fictional newspaper publishing faux news pieces in a Lovecraftian/Cthulhu Mythos universe, as well as original short fiction stories.
Since “Prayer at Dark River” is flash fiction, I’m only going to offer you a small teaser.
Dear Lord in Heaven, O Merciful Father.
Always I have turned to You in prayer when frightened and my first instinct tonight was to kneel upon these old flagstones and beseech you for guidance. My other choice would be to commune with Professor Webb as we wait to see if his sorcery has had effect. Should I pray the American sorcerer has succeeded, so that Guðrun is safe, or should I pray that he fails?
The story will come out the first week of October in the 2nd issue.
I’m very pleased to announce the sale of my short story “Body Language” to Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show. This is an important sale for me for three reasons.
This is the first story I wrote after attending OSC’s Literary Boot Camp and was one of the hardest things I’ve written because I was so painfully conscious of process. Ever word that hit the page marked a deliberate effort to use the new tools I’d been given.
This is the first story I wrote to a specific market. I wanted to sell it to IGMS. You’ll note that I wrote it four years ago. That’s because it was rejected the first time around, but I was offered a chance to rewrite it and resubmit. It took years for me to do that.
This is the only story I have written where the main character is a puppeteer.
So when Edmund Schubert, the editor, called me to tell me that he wanted to buy it, refraining from shrieking with delight was very difficult.
Here’s a teaser of “Body Language.”
Saskia leaned into the darkness above the stage, only vaguely aware of the wood rail against her hips as she retied the left headstring on her marionette. On the stage below, the Snow Queen’s head eased into balance. The marionette telegraphed its stance back up the strings to the control in Saskia’s hands. She ran the Snow Queen across the set to check the repair, barely conscious of her own body on the bridge above the stage. It was almost like being immersed in a VR suit.
One of the techies called up. “Hey, Saskia? There’s a detective here for you.”
Life on the road doesn’t completely suck. I sold a short story today! Maurice Broaddus is editing an anthology of horror titled Dark Faith for Apex that will come out next May and he just let me know that he’d like to include my story “Ring Road” in it.
Echoes and steam swirled around Nanna, merging with warm water to ease the tightness in her limbs. God, she had missed spas while she’d been away. The entire state of Wyoming had utterly failed to understand what a spa should be. In fact, the entire country might have failed in that.
Beside her, Eric groaned. “I may never move again.”
“Told you.” Lauger, of all the spas in Reykjavik, was her favorite and the first place she went after a trip abroad. The heat crept into her, peeling off layers of protection that she hadn’t even noticed. She’d been away too long this time. Not that she’d admit it to her grandmother who’d been outraged when she decided to stay at the university over the summer. And following that up by bringing an American boyfriend home had been…interesting.
I call this my time-traveling Grandma story, which isn’t a spoiler, since the story opens with her standing in a time machine. I based the main character on my own grandmother.
When Patrick Nielsen Hayden bought it for Tor.com, he asked me to change the character’s name. Why? Because her name was Elois, just like my grandma. The problem, though, is that at the end of H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine, he visits the Eloi. Elois looked like a deliberate play on that, but didn’t go anywhere. Once he pointed that out, I was only too happy to change the name.
Eleanor Louise Jackson stood inside the plain steel box of the time machine. It was about the size of an outhouse, but without a bench or windows. She clutched her cane with one hand and her handbag with the other. It felt like the scan was taking far too long, but she was fairly certain that was her nerves talking.
Her corset made her ribs creak with every breath. She’d expected to hate wearing the thing but there was a certain comfort from having something to support her back and give her a shape more like a woman than a sack of potatoes.
A gust of air puffed around her and the steel box was gone. She stood in a patch of tall grass under an October morning sky. The caravan of scientists, technicians and reporters had vanished from the field where they’d set up camp. Louise inhaled with wonder that the time machine had worked. Assuming that this was 1905, of course – the year of her birth and the bottom limit to her time traveling range. Even with all the preparation for this trip, it baffled her sense of the order of things to be standing there.
It’s a reprint anthology and this story was my second sale ever, back in 2004. Funny, but I just realized that my first two sales weren’t spec fiction. Anyway, here’s a snippet
I was born Rosa Carlotta Silvana Grisanti, but in the mid-Eighties, I legally changed my name to Eve. As you have guessed in your letter, after the shocking affair of the Dutch steamship Friesland, my dear friends Dr. Watson and Mr. Sherlock Holmes suggested that my safest course of action would be to distance myself from my family.
The title, by the way, comes from a story that Watson mentions but never tells.
“Evil Robot Monkey” will be appearing in Gardner Dozois’s Yearâ€™s Best Science Fiction. You know, there were anthologies that I regularly bought before I started writing seriously. This is one of them, because the selections were always thought-provoking and that’s what I loved about SF. And to have one of my stories in there… I’m stunned.
And not using nearly enough exclamation points for the occasion.
I’m delighted to announce that my short story “At the Edge of Dying” will appear in the anthology Clockwork Phoenix 2, edited by Mike Allen. The first anthology was full of amazing stories and I’m thrilled to be in the second incarnation.
Here’s a teaser:
Kahe peeked over the edge of the earthen trench as his tribe’s retreating warriors broke from the bamboo grove onto the lava field. The tribesmen showed every sign of panicked flight in front of the advancing Ouvallese. Spears and shields dropped to the ground as they tucked in their arms and ran.
And the Ouvallese, arrogant with their exotic horses and metal armor, believed what they saw and chased the warriors toward him. The timing on this would be close. Kahe gathered the spell in his mind and double-checked the garrote around his neck. His wife stood behind him, the ends resting lightly in her hands. “Do it.”
I’m delighted that “Evil Robot Monkey” will be appearing in Mr. Horton’s anthology, Science Fiction: The Best of the Year 2009. This is the second of my stories that he’s taken and I’m thrilled that he continues to enjoy what I do.
Here’s a snippet of Evil Robot Monkey, as a teaser.
Sliding his hands over the clay, Sly relished the moisture oozing around his fingers. The clay matted down the hair on the back of his hands making them look almost human. He turned the potter’s wheel with his prehensile feet as he shaped the vase. Pinching the clay between his fingers he lifted the wall of the vase, spinning it higher.
I’ll let you know when the book is available for pre-order.
I think this post should probably consist of nothing but exclamation points.
Growing up, I subscribed to Asimov’s and had a shelf full of back issues until I went to college.Â It was one of my favorite tickets to other worlds but I never imagined, back then, of actually appearing in its pages.Â But my story, “The Consciousness Problem” just Sold! To! Asimov’s!
Be happy there’s no audio component to this post because the squeel would destroy your eardrums.Â This is my first sale to one of the “Big Three” and I’m so pleased that it’s to Asimov’s.Â I wrote the story as part of the workshop run by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, with special guest Sheila Williams.Â Clearly, I got invaluable feedback from that.
Could this day get any better?Â Oh yes, I think it can.Â I just have to wait for the polls to close.
I’m delighted that â€œGinger Stuyvesant and the Case of the Haunted Nurseryâ€ is going to appear in Talebones #38, tentatively scheduled for Spring 2009.Â This will be my second time in Talebones, which is one of my favorite magazines. Seriously, if you’re only going to subscribe to one magazine (besides Shimmer) I highly recommend Talebones.
Here’s a teaser:
A liveried manservant waited by the front stairs of Fairbairn Hall as if he expected to take the reins of a horse. Ginger stopped her roadster next to him, shaking her head. These Brits had such queer, old-fashioned ideas.
She hopped out of her car, tossing her cloche on the front seat. With any luck, the hat had controlled the worst of the damage to her hair on the drive up from London.
The front door of the manor house flung open. In a flurry of crepe chiffon, Lucy Rhodes hurried down the stairs. “Ginger, darling! Thank heavens you’ve come.” Even in the daylight, circles of fear rippled through her aura.
(Tor Books — August 21, 2018) Continuing the grand sweep of alternate history laid out in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars. Of course, the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, […]