#SFWApro

New short story! "The Balance" in Pulp Literature

Cover of Pulp Literature #34I posted earlier here that I'd sold two new stories recently. New, as in not reprints. Brand new tales never before published. The first of these appears in issue #34 of the excellent Canadian multi-genre magazine, Pulp Literature, which is available now.

That name—Pulp Literature—might seem like an oxymoron, but it's an excellent description of the stories they publish. You'll find every type of genre and subgenre in their pages, including tales most typically found in the so-called pulp genres (SF, fantasy, horror, whatever), but all of them have a literary sensibility.

My story, "The Balance," is an unusual one for me. It is the first non-speculative, mainstream story I have had published. It is also a deeply personal one, since it draws from my experiences at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children (fondly known to locals as simply "Sick Kids") after the birth of our second son.

I wrote this story over two decades ago and, although I continued to submit it to short fiction markets, I had begun to believe that it was simply too personal to ever sell, that it was a story that I needed to write at the time, but it was not one that would ever see the light of publication.

So I was delighted when it sold to such a good market. I was even more delighted with the following review of the story that appeared in Amazing Stories:

"More children than we care to think about struggle to survive from the moment they’re born. It’s not fair to spend the first months of existence in an ICU undergoing constant crises and multiple operations. Exceedingly tough on the parents, of course, whose gamut of emotions range from hope to despair cycling so fast as to be kaleidoscopic in nature. Hard to remain sane under such conditions.

This story is harrowing in its authenticity. In that sense it is hard on the reader. Yet, as an exploration of every parent’s worst nightmare, both educational and profoundly moving. I truly believe reading this will in some small way help people to be better parents, or, at the very least, remind parents what miracles their children truly are.

This might be a useful story to place in a high school anthology, if only to allow teenagers to understand just how traumatic and difficult life can be for parents. Perhaps that’s a lost cause. Nobody understands parenting till they’ve become parents. But this is one hell of a glimpse for the uninitiated. Powerful story."

—Amazing Stories

And don't worry—the story has a happy ending.

"Symphony" reprinted in Earth Colonies

Earth Colonies anthology cover

Catching up on some short story sales I hadn't posted yet. My first contact story, "Symphony," appeared in the anthology, Earth Colonies, last summer.

I wrote "Symphony" for a science-fiction short story contest the Canadian literary magazine, Prairie Fire, was running at the time. Prairie Fire is based in Manitoba, Canada, and the contest was to commemorate Manitoba-born "Golden Age" SF writer, A. E. Van Vogt. Appropriately enough, Canadian SF writing great, Robert J. Sawyer, was the judge.

"Symphony" took second place in the contest and was also a finalist for the Aurora Award for best short fiction the following year.

Just before this anthology came out, coincidentally, I was interviewed via Zoom by Taipei-based writer, Todd Sullivan, about plot development, specifically in "Symphony," and in my writing in general. The interview is on YouTube here, as part of Todd's "Plotting in Fiction" series.

In his series, Todd uses voice-only interviews then adds supporting visuals. I think he did an amazing job with his selection of images for this one. I read the opening few paragraphs to start the interview. If you're interested, you buy an ebook edition of "Symphony" from my online bookstore or any of your favourite retailers here.

"Fiddleheads" reprinted in Nightmare Abbey #1

Nightmare Abbey coverMy short story, "Fiddleheads," was recently reprinted in the first issue of the new horror anthology series, Nightmare Abbey, from Dead Letter Press and editor Tom English.

I've been in several issues of Tom's Black Infinity anthology series, so being in the inaugural issue of a new series was a treat. But the biggest thrill was getting to share the very cool retro cover (right) with the likes of Ramsey Campbell, Robert Bloch, and Henry Kuttner.

Although "Fiddleheads" is a horror story and has a supernatural streak running through it, unlike most of my dark stories, in this tale, the real monster is human. 



The story: Twelve-year-old Andy Pembleton's younger brother disappeared two years ago. The loss tore Andy's world apart. His father left. His mother withdrew into guilt, all but ignoring Andy.

But Andy is going to change all of that. He has a plan to find his brother—a deeply disturbing one.

"… every parent’s worst nightmare. This was a gripping tale and goes to show that not only parents suffer when a child goes missing and how it can warp a child." — Bitten By Books

Have Ship, Will Travel anthology sale

Have Ship, Will Travel anthology coverMy SF first-contact story, "Symphony," will be appearing in the upcoming space opera anthology, Have Ship, Will Travel, coming out in January from Stories Rule Press in Canada. It's a reprint, but I got a special kick out of this one.

If you're one of my newsletter subscribers, you would've received "Symphony" as your monthly ebook story back in March of this year. If you're not on my list, you can subscribe here (and get a free ebook for signing up).

And if you want to check out the excellent bunch of stories in this very large antho (over 400 pages), you can pre-order it here from your favourite retailer (note: an Amazon link will be added soon).

So what was that special kick I got? Check out the cover on the right. I'm one of the two "featured authors" at the top along with the multi-award-winning author and editor, Kristine Katherine Rusch. I've attended ever so many craft workshops given by Kris. This is my first (and likely last time) being billed ahead of her. Kris's story opens the antho and mine closes it. Very cool.

Tags:

Playing the Short Game: Library workshop series in 2022

Playing the Short Game coverI'll be giving a series of three workshops in early 2022 via Zoom covering my writer's guide, Playing the Short Game: How to Market & Sell Short Fiction. The workshops are free and sponsored by the Richmond Hill Public Library of York Region and will be offered the first Thursday evening of March, April, and May (Mar 3, Apr 7, and May 5) from 7:30-9:00pm.

Topics covered in workshop #1 (March 3, 2022) include:

  • The benefits of writing short fiction
  • Avoiding traps for the beginner
  • Understanding rights and licensing for short fiction
  • Finding short fiction markets
  • Selecting the right market for your story
  • Submitting short fiction to a market
  • What not to do when submitting
  • What to do after submitting

If you're interested, go here to register ahead of time. Note that you'll be registering for all the Jan-Mar workshops offered by the library. They're all free, and you don't need to attend any other workshop (but you're welcome to).

Registration links for workshops #2 and #3 are not yet available, but I'll post here when they are. I look forward to seeing you there.

Another "new" story sale

Pulp Literature, issue #12 coverI posted earlier about recently selling a brand new short story that I'd written at the start of the pandemic. Well, I sold another "new" story in November, but it's one that I wrote much earlier than 2020. As in much, much earlier.

This sale is a first for me in a couple of ways. One, it's not a genre story. "The Balance" is mainstream. It's also not a "new" story.

I wrote this one almost two decades ago, in 2002. It's a very personal story, inspired by events surrounding the birth of our second son and the time he spent in hospital having far too many operations in his first few weeks of life.

Although I kept submitting it to markets all those years, I'd come to believe it was too personal to ever sell. So I was extremely happy when the excellent Canadian multi-genre magazine, Pulp Literature, accepted it. This will be my second appearance in PL. The cover from my earlier appearance is pictured

I'll post here when the issue with "The Balance" is published and available.

Short fiction seminar for Canadian Authors Association

This Thursday, April 29 at 7:00-8:30pm, I will be giving a webinar on marketing and selling short fiction, jointly sponsored by the Canadian Authors Association and SF Canada.

Drawing from my writer's guide, PLAYING THE SHORT GAME: HOW TO MARKET & SELL SHORT FICTION, I'll cover rights and licensing, finding short fiction markets, a strategy for selecting markets, submission advice, key contract clauses, and leveraging second rights for such things like reprints, foreign language rights, audio markets, and publishing a collection.

This webinar is free due to COVID-19’s impact on the writing community, but space is limited to the first 100 attendees. You can register for free here. Hope you'll be able to join me.

Tags:

Webinar June 18: How to make your short fiction work for you

I'll be giving an online workshop on June 18, 7-9 pm, as part of the Writer's Community of York Region ongoing webinar program. The workshop is the third in my series based on my writer's guide, Playing the Short Game: How to Market & Sell Short Fiction.

This workshop focuses on the phase in a short story writer’s career when they’ve established themselves and have built up a backlist of published short fiction. It will explain the many ways a successful short fiction writer can leverage their own inventory of published stories, as well as other aspects of an established short fiction writer’s life. Topics include:

  • Leveraging your backlist
  • Selling reprints
  • Selling in foreign languages
  • Selling audio rights
  • Publishing a collection
  • The indie option for short fiction
  • Discoverability tools and promotion for established writers
  • Career progression in short fiction

Tickets are free, but space is limited. Pre-registration ends June 16, 2020. Please register here. Hope to see you online!

Tags:

"Doorways" part 2 now up at Tales to Terrify podcast site

I wrote earlier about my SF novelette, "Doorways," being narrated at the excellent podcast site, Tales to Terrify. Because "Doorways" is over 10,000 word, Tales spread it over two back-to-back episodes.

Part 1 went up last week and is available here. Every episode of Tales to Terrify is a lot of fun, so I'd suggest you just start at the beginning. But if you want to jump to "Doorways," it starts about the 12:00 minute mark.

Tales has now posted Part 2 here. Again, their episodes are very entertaining, but if you want to jump ahead, the concluding part of "Dooways" starts at the 13:20 mark.

Enjoy!

Tags:

Aurora bundle spotlight: Strange Bedfellows

Strange Bedfellows coverHere is the seventh in my interview series for the current Aurora Award ebook bundle available at Storybundle (but only for two more days!). Today, we talk to Hayden Trenholm, publisher of Bundoran Press and the editor for the anthology Strange Bedfellows.

What is your strongest memory from editing this anthology / assembling this collection?

Although I had previously edited an anthology for Bundoran Press, this was the first one I did after assuming ownership, and it was important to me to do something special. Politics and science fiction essentially define my life so putting them together was a natural.

What I remember best is the flood of really great stories we got from around the world from both well-established and novice writers. When it came to the final selection process, I had enough good stories to fill two anthologies, and it was an agonizing process to slowly weed them down to final selection.

As it was, I went more than 10000 words over my intended length, and to this day, there are several stories that didn’t make the final cut the I still think about and wish I could have included.

Is there something in these stories that you consider to be particularly Canadian or that Canadians would relate to or recognize in terms of sensibilities, world view, societal beliefs, etc.?

In the end, there were only two stories written by Canadians in the anthology (with 7 other nationalities represented), but I still think the anthology was quite Canadian in its values. There was wide representation of political views though nothing from the extreme left or right. There was a gender balance between men and women plus stories from writers who identify elsewise as well as diversity of race and religions.

In this sense the anthology strived toward inclusivity—just as Canada itself strives toward inclusivity and opportunity for all. Whether it succeeds is for the readers to judge.

What music would be the ideal listening soundtrack for readers for this book?

Obviously a collection of world music—maybe one of the ones put together for Real World Records by (politically driven) Peter Gabriel.

~~~

Thanks, Hayden. People, if you're a fan of speculative fiction and want to pick up ten award winners and finalists for a bargain price, grab this bundle now. And I mean now. There are only two days left before this deal is gone forever.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - #SFWApro