This piece was submitted to ZeroFlash’s October/November Contest. Didn’t win anything, but I’m proud of it nonetheless as a creepy little fiction. Note: I’ve edited it slightly.
The following is a record of the rejection letters for my prose and poetry that I received in 2018. This is a total account; my embarrassing 2-3 rejections per month are a living, working reality. I’ve cut greetings (hello, dear writer, etc.), story titles, and editor names for some mixture of brevity and privacy.
The android was making them all uncomfortable with its Zelzer Stiff eyeing them from its hip. It’d only been forty point three seconds since the landmark decision to include artificial humans in the Second Amendment and this son of a manufacturing plant had just walked into the Rig & Rattle with a laspistol holstered, twinkling. Kghoshi—a real bastard on a good day—splashed his drink on silver chestmetal and said, “You packing, tin can?” The bartender—a saint on a bad day—put an arm on the droid: “C’mon, now, let’s not do this.” The move was registered as an offensive action and the android shot the bartender between his eyebrows. Kghoshi’s finger moved a centimeter toward his gun when a second shot put a red dot on his forehead as uniform as urna. The men in the bar leaped to their feet. Offensive actions. The men in the bar toppled over chairs and tables. By the time the android reached the counter, empty now of breathing souls, a feed of reaction times, facial registers, psycho-prints—all pointing to self-defense—had been submitted to local authorities.
Published at Rune Bear Weekly on December 6th, 2018.
I’ve been photoshopping advertisements for Rune Bear‘s weekly posts. In each image I tried to capture some element of the companion piece while not making a picture that sucks terribly. Some have been not-so-great, as to be expected, but these three below were somewhat successful.
The first is a rune bear mounted on the wall for Amanda Bender’s “The Hero and the Hunter.” Her piece is part one of an emerging storyline (we’ll be posting Part II at a later date). Basically, a failing zoo has to turn to a big game hunter who pursues exotic beasts. But since Rune Bear Weekly features pieces that are under three hundred words, I’ll have to be careful summarizing anything, since the synopsis might end up longer than the story.
Look at those pain-sullied eyes. Look at ’em.
The second image is of a bear spying on himself in a sword blade. This was created for T. J. Locustwood’s “The Recruitment of Steel.” The piece is a cantos that pairs with his upcoming book, Alexander Croft and the Corvian Wrath.
Finally, for Joe Amaral’s “We are Seeds,” about a village destroyed and its sole vengeful survivor (a little girl with druidic magic), I shopped a rune bear casting a leafy magical curse.
The Tishman Review nominated my story “And We Who Never Died” for Best Small Fictions.
BSF is an anthology that honors the “best short hybrid fiction published in a calendar year.” The Harvard Review wrote that the pieces in BSF are like a “splash of ice water in the face,” a wake-up call to “your life… unspooling.”
When I heard I’d been nominated, I was like cool beans and moved on to lesson planning and grading.
Then Coffin Bell posted this:
And I discovered that MY WIFE HAS BEEN NOMINATED.
As of this day, she and I are no longer friends. No longer best friends. No longer lovers.
But bitter enemies locked in literary combat.
THIS. MEANS. WAR.
Kasma Magazine published my science-fiction short, “Two Wings, Flightless,” about a man who has to destroy a hovership that’s been solar-beaming the countryside. Kasma is a speculative magazine that publishes a story every first day of the month. Each piece is accompanied by a beautiful bit of art by Jose Baetas. You can see his treatment for my story above.
In “Two Wings,” I wanted to replicate the hero goes to a cave to slay a dragon story in a post-apocalyptic setting, switching the fire-breather for a flying war machine. The result was really fun to write, especially since the narrator was so dour and grit-happy. I’m already planning a sequel.
My short story “House Divided,” about a divorced couple living in a house split between two dimensions, was included in this year’s America’s Emerging Writers, a nationwide anthology produced by Z Publishing. Out of the two thousand stories featured in their statewide editions, “House Divided” was one of 127 pieces selected.