Do a Little Dance

For the first time in a while I have some real writing-relevant news to share. A short story of mine Hostage was chosen by Flame Tree Publishing to be included in their upcoming Gothic Fantasy anthology Time Travel Short Stories.

The anthology is due to be published in July 2017 and will include a mixture of both new and classic time travel themed stories. This means, not only will a story of mine be found in a real book of the paper and binding variety, my writing will be alongside the likes of H.G. Wells and Mark Twain. How cool is that?

As evidence I’m not making all this up, the Flame Tree order page for the book is here. It can also be ordered through Indigo and Amazon. I have no idea how many, if any, Canadian/US stores will have hardcopy books in stock (Flame Tree Publishing is in the UK), but we all do our shopping online nowadays anyway, right (or is that just those of us who avoid taking a toddler to the store)?

This is one of those things that makes the whole writing endeavor seem a little less nuts. A feeling that will surely pass around the time I receive my next rejection. In the meantime, I’ll be dancing in the kitchen–probably the better you know me the harder time you’ll have picturing it, but the dance really happened.

Why Some Shows are Popular—or Not

Science Fiction fans are used to seeing their favorite shows cancelled. Of course, this is not unique to sci fi, and it happens for a number of reasons: money, network decisions, actor availability, etc. As far as sci fi goes, the computer geek and sci-fi geek demographics have a big overlap. Perhaps some shows have had a larger audience than their producers were aware of because the viewers were ahead of the curve in sharing online rather than watching on cable. Whatever the reason, shows disappear and the world moves on.

Or does it? What I find interesting is how many of these shows become hugely popular years, or even decades, after going off-air for ‘lack of Fireflyaudience.’

A semi-recent example would be the much-loved Firefly. It struggled to survive for even one season back in ’02-’03. Ten years later, it has a huge following, a successful movie under its belt, and a 9/10 rating on IMDB.

star trek

Then there’s Star Trek, the benchmark for geekdom for as long as I can remember(when someone calls you a trekkie they don’t usually mean it as a compliment). The original series had low ratings in the 60s followed by a decade of nothing. Since 1979, however, there have been four spin-off series and twelve movies. Twelve. With number thirteen on the way. What once had a cult following in the shadows is not only still alive four and a half decades after it began, but is now fueling a series of blockbusters.

What gives? Though all fiction is a medium for broaching topics that society may not be ready to shine a light on, science fiction is particularly powerful in this regard. It can take us far into the future or create entirely new universes where we don’t have to feel threatened by the politics or social norms that clash with our current beliefs and expectations. This is its strength, and sometimes, maybe, its downfall—at least in the short term.

We love to be feel open minded. We like to see people have their boundaries pushed, but we prefer to do it from the comfortable position where we already have the right answer. This is at least part of what makes historical fiction so popular. Continue reading

An Interesting Question

I came across this article from a few weeks ago: Women of Mad Science, posted by Mad Scientist Journal. The question they pose is, “Why Aren’t There More Woman Sci-Fi Writers? Not a new question, but an interesting one. There are some good points–and I added my two cents to the comments.

If the topic interests you, I’ll leave you to give the article a read (and add to the discussion of you wish) rather than reproduce it here. I’ll be interested to see any new comments that come up.

A Swirl of Chocolate Published

My latest flash fiction, A Swirl of Chocolate, is now available for reading on 365 tomorrows. This story is a quick little take on the twists and turns of time. Time travel is impossible…or is it? Have a read and, if you feel so inclined, let me know what you think.

I mentioned 365 tomorrows in a previous post on the pros and cons of different places where I’ve tried to publish. Now that I’ve completed the process with them, my opinion hasn’t changed all that much. The biggest pro this site has to offer is the variety of stories they are willing to publish. If you have a piece of flash fiction (<600 words) and aren’t sure what to do with it, they might be worth a try.

However, the biggest con is communication. For me that’s a big one and will likely prevent me from trying these guys again. I had to contact them through twitter to ask about a publishing date. They told me that informing authors when they were expected to be published was too costly.

I find this hard to believe–I mean really, we all have email accounts (and I would have settled for a tweet). I’m only asking for one line: ‘you’re projected publishing date is X.’ Everyone else I’ve worked with seems to manage it so I’m not sure why these guys think they can’t. Anyway, regardless of the cost, I consider open communication to be necessary in any business transaction. In the end, they didn’t even tell me that my story was published today. I only know because I checked the site.

Something else to consider is that they don’t include author bios with their stories. Not that this is a must, but bios give the author a place to tell anyone who likes there story where to find more of their work. Though I’m not a huge fan of writing bios I’ve come to appreciate their benefit.

All that said, it’s nice to have another story out there. I’m happy to add this experience to my repertoire.

Find Mad Scientist Journal on Amazon!!

As I have previously posted, Mad Scientist Journal is an ezine that publishes new fiction weekly on its website–that you can read for free. They also amalgamate their stories into quarterly anthologies and add some exclusive content to give more bang for your 99-cent download.

Initially published through smashwords in a number of formats, these anthologies are now available in kindle editions on Amazon. Links to all four, currently available, anthologies are on the MSJ website. My own contribution in the form of a classified ad, Experienced Osteo-transplant Specialist Seeks Work, from Dr. Coccymandible, can be found in the Autumn 2012 Anthology.

Feel free to write a review of one (or all) of these anthologies on Amazon, your own blog, or elsewhere. Help MSJ expand its audience.

An upcoming anthology (Spring 2013, I expect) will also include my short story, Mabel’s Mission, which was published by MSJ on Apr 1st.

Mabel’s Mission Published by Mad Scientist Journal

…imagine a world where capricious scientists, such as yourselves, have free reign. I just so happen to come from such a world. Honestly…

…Hamish was the epitome of science gone wrong. About four and half feet tall, with wildly disproportionate, beefy limbs, he had tiny insectile eyes that were especially out of place in his large, somewhat bulbous head. His scattered patches of coarse hair were interspersed between a disturbing assortment of tubes coming out of his scalp…

Read about the Mabel’s adventures in a world where human experimentation is as common as getting a haircut…but–like haircuts– sometimes it goes horribly wrong. You can read Mabel’s Mission now  (free, no log-in or other effort required) at Mad Scientist Journal.  

And thanks to Shannon Legler for the awesome art.

Almost Time for Mabel’s Mission

…imagine a world where capricious scientists, such as yourselves, have free reign. I just so happen to come from such a world. Honestly…

…Hamish was the epitome of science gone wrong. About four and half feet tall, with wildly disproportionate, beefy limbs, he had tiny insectile eyes that were especially out of place in his large, somewhat bulbous head. His scattered patches of coarse hair were interspersed between a disturbing assortment of tubes coming out of his scalp…

The crazy adventure of Mabel, a mad scientist’s assistant (written by yours truly) is scheduled to appear on Mad Scientist Journal April 1st 2013. This unique online magazine publishes a new essay every week from the world of mad science. You can view these stories for free on the website–always a fun and unusual read–and/or download their quarterly anthologies for 99 cents on smashwords, with some exclusive fiction added, well worth the 99 cents. The anthologies include variety of short stories (from more than the mad scientists’ realm) and quirky classified ads including my own Osteo-transplant Specialist published in the latest anthology.

So head on over to Mad Scientist Journal or smashwords and mark your calendars for April 1st!