Life, Scifi, Writing (Published)

Magazine Defunct — “Two Wings Flightless”

A few years ago, Kasma Magazine published my scifi short, “Two Wings, Flightless,” a dragon-slaying quest set in a post-apocalypse (the traditional winged lizard replaced by an aircraft piloted by a hostile AI).

Kasma was a speculative magazine with beautiful art accompanying its prose, but now, at least according to Duotrope, the publication has ended.

The magazine’s website concurs with this assessment.

For writers, this is the constant threat of having publications be digital-only (not that I will stop publishing digitally or anything). A physical print copy does wonders for the ego as well as permanency of a piece, although even print has its ephemeral nature.

In any case, I will be posting my short story below for ease-of-access.

Of course, this blog will too someday go extinct, whether it is by my death or distraction or poverty.

But in the meantime, I hope you, whoever-you-are, enjoy my story, which also deals with the ending of things.

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Life, Writing Process

State of the Quarterly

 

Originally, my friend and co-editor, Stuart Warren, was to lead Rune Bear‘s Quarterly Contest, but he didn’t know what he was doing and our visions for the magazine clashed (Stu saw this journal as an opportunity to publish only his and my work, while I wanted Rune Bear to follow a less narcissistic path).

After letting Stu go, I took over the defunct effort and implemented a drabble series with a $10 prize. One year later, so far, so good. We’ve completed four seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter) without any complications and are now cycling back into spring. Last season was our most successful submission period; the Quarterly received 53 drabbles.

My Oregon-bound friend Robin Stranahan has been creating the art to accompany our prompts, with the exception of the first contest, which featured a dragon and cowboy by Hari Nezumi.

Wanting a more consistent style, and after receiving fifteen stories about dragons snatching horses, we opted for Robin’s simpler, vaguer, and deeper imagery.

Here is her collection so far.

Summer 2020
Prompt: Apocalypse

Fall 2020
Prompt: Things that Live in Holes

Winter 2020
Prompt: Dead of Winter

Spring 2021
Prompt: Patch Notes Version 2.0

And, in accordance with our last prompt about scifi transhumanism, here’s to a weird, wonderful, unpredictable future!

Life, Scifi, Writing (Published)

Published — “Devil’s Ivy”

In my pandemic distraction, I completely neglected to mention that InkQuills printed one of my flashes, “The Devil’s Ivy,” in an anthology of horror entitled Cryptid Encounters. The anthology was compiled by the wonderful Enakshi J., a poet, author, and blogger in India. Here’s her blog.

Cryptid Encounters is a collection of 13 speculative short stories “intended to scare, surprise, disgust, and startle.” Each piece has a similar conceit: a bizarre encounter and its aftermath. My included work, “The Devil’s Ivy,” draws inspiration from The Twilight Zone; the conceptual parallel of people encountering extraordinary beings with unkind motives will be obvious to fans of episodes like “To Serve Man” or “It’s a Good Life.”

Life, Writing

Working on my Next Manuscript

Three years.

That’s how long it took to write my first novel.

And as they say, the first novel is the worst. (They should add so is the latest.) In three years, my manuscript went through multiple rewrites, a few cycles of beta readers, and now slinks in my hard drive, waiting to be deleted on accident. Or on purpose. Probably purpose.

In case you’re curious, Roco is a contemporary forest fantasy about a squirrel who goes on an adventure with a teenaged rune mage. The villains are a backwoods clan of snakes in the guise of people; their leader, called Mother, wants to slither inside the mage to take over her body and command her powers. Think Yeerks meet ancient serpent gods.

Most of the story centers on the rune mage’s escape through a swathe of forest and her burgeoning friendship with a helpful Western Gray (a relationship initiated by magic). The book culminates in a final showdown between the deuteragonists and the snakefolk, with the denouement setting up a sequel.

Mari and Roco by Mowkiii

What I earned after an endless three years was first-hand knowledge of how demoralizing writing a book can be.

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Life, Scifi

My friend wrote a book

Stuart J. Warren, of his-own-blog fame, wrote a book about a robot who activates in the wilderness and stumbles on an automated society. Humanity, apparently, has been wiped out completely, and this robot tries to adjust to a brave, new world of logic, code, ailing technology, and fervent racism against long-gone Creators. 

My small contribution was as one of Stuart’s beta readers. Here’s the cover:

Dynamic Synapse Protocol is on Amazon.

 

Life

Rejection Letters of 2020

2020 was a tough year in terms of self-motivation and sitting down to actually write (or read, or do anything beyond doomscrolling and video games). The Coronaverse was overwhelming—the unknowns, the paranoia, the deaths, the blur of weeks spent indoors.

Only now, in January 2021, am I actively seeking restoration (even though the pandemic continues to rage).

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Scifi, Writing

Drabble — “Mosfugito”

Blue sky from corporate to the car. Texting his wife, Mr. Kedder didn’t notice the mosfugito alight on his back — purple, corpulent, cellophane wings, with a proboscis that pushed discretely into Kedder’s time. Then the world heaved. Kedder spun ahead to his house, to bed, to morning with its toothpaste and groans. Years, suckled in seconds, flung children into college, into careers. Wrinkles wriggled across Kedder’s face. “Please…” A gray hair, a wife’s funeral, pills in a white cup. “Please… stop…” And as if in answer, the mosfugito tore from Kedder’s back, engorged on a gray husk bound to wheelchair.