Life, Writing Process

Behind-the-Quarterly

For a long time I’ve envisioned Rune Bear Magazine divided between Weekly and Quarterly. We would publish weekly stories under 300 words, but we would also have a seasonal writing contest.

Unfortunately, the Quarterly page on our website has looked like this for two years:

The guy we put in charge of Quarterly turned out to be a dud, so we let him go and I took over the contest. Instead of long-form writing, I decided to pull back to the flashiest flash fiction — the Drabble. Stories of 100 words exactly.

With $10 rewarded to the winner.

My editors came up with a list of prompts, democratically selected one, we hired an artist, and boom—I’m proud to announce that Rune Bear Quarterly is open for submissions until April 30, 2020. May will be a reading & selection period with the winner announced on May 31st.

The Spring 2020 prompt is “Weird Wild West” and the inspirational image (by no means the only interpretation of the prompt) is a dragon stealing a cowboy’s horse. This piece was made by the very talented Hari Nezumi, although in the future we will be relying on in-house artist Robin Stranahan.

 

Fantasy, Life, Writing (Published)

Published — “Familiar Girls”

My microfiction “Familiar Girls” was published by Blood Song Books in “Curses & Cauldrons.” Their witch-based anthology boasts “over 200 tiny dark tales of magic, mischief, murder, mayhem & madness” and is available as an ebook or trade paperback. I’m proud to be published alongside so many great writers, including my wife!

Oh, and here’s a great review of the anthology.

Fantasy, Life, Writing (Published)

Published — “The Other World Tree”

My flash fiction, “The Other World Tree,” was published in Quail Bell Magazine. Inspired by stories set in Victorian London and the Upside Down in Stranger Things, I wrote a two-page story about a girl’s encounter with a dimension that’s not benevolent or wondrous.

Quail Bell Magazine is a literary magazine that finds and publishes seriously good writers (I should know, I’m one of them). Founded by Christine Sloan Stoddard, Quail Bell seeks “real and unreal stories,” especially stories that are “imaginary, nostalgic, and otherworldly.”

As they say in their motto:

Our go-to spell? Art + Ideas = Magic.

Fantasy, Life, Writing (Published)

Published — “Garden of Forking Palms”

My absurdist flash fiction Garden of Forking Palms was included in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Mojave River Review. My title plays with Jorge Luis Borges’s “The Garden of Forking Paths,” but roads diverge from there. The story is about a man who wakes up to find a garden on his hand. And then he has to go to work.

I wanted to explore our universal experience of not-quite-fitting-in, of having something weird or silly to preoccupy our social discomfort. My argument is that weirdness, silliness, those things that fluster, they might actually be our most beautiful or interesting attributes. Dave doesn’t make the right decision in the end, but he might someday with time and maturity and that steady growth of self-knowledge.

Mojave River Media is a busy publishing center with books, anthologies, and review magazines. This includes Mojave River Review, a prose and poetry anthology produced biseasonally.

Life

Assistant Editor at Coffin Bell

Very excited to announce that I am now Assistant Editor of Coffin Bell, a quarterly online journal (they also have an annual print issue) that publishes “waking nightmares, dark CNF, dystopian flash, cursed verse.”

I hope to bring my decade of experience in literary circles, workshops, and critique groups (as well as my undergraduate degree in creative writing) to the operating table and get my hands slick with organ rot. I mean weird fiction.

The magazine wanted a headshot so I sent them this:

That’s me, by the way.

Fantasy, Life, Writing (Published)

Published — “Black Bear on White Paper”

Literally Stories published my fantasy story, “Black Bear on White Paper.” The story takes place in a realm I’ve envisioned for some time: a forest world founded on an endless, underground library. Unexplained, and mostly unexplored, the library is attended by a small cabal of librarian-monks. The concept combines Borges’s “The Library of Babel,” Tolkien’s Mines of Moria, and the medieval monastery.

Literally Stories was started in 2014 by a wiggle of writers, including a bloke named Adam West (no, not that one). The magazine not only provides a platform for prose and poetry, but encourages reader feedback and author interaction. There’s even a comments section labeled “Your Thoughts” for criticism of the magazine itself. The hope is to give “each story its moment in the sun.” Naturally, this might provide a healthy tan; for others, a nasty burn.

Writing Process

Rune Bear Deviant

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.

weareseeds2.png

Fantasy, Life, Scifi, Writing (Published)

Nominated — “And We Who Never Died”

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:

nomination

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.

Life, Scifi, Writing (Published)

Published — “Two Wings Flightless”

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.