I've been following the Writers of the Future science fiction contest since it began some thirty-odd years ago. L. Ron Hubbard (a particularly colorful character in a field known for its colorful characters) developed a contest to help new and aspiring writers-- and illustrators-- break into the speculative fiction genre. L. Ron has passed away since then, but the program is still going strong, each year helping to expose the best of the up-and-coming writers and illustrators to the established professionals in the industry and to the population of readers at large.
Volume 32 is out and as fate would have it, not one but *two* of the stories included are by writers here in my own stomping grounds of Reno, Nev. :) Christoph Weber's "Mobius" and J.D. Kulicher's "Swords Like Lightning, Hooves Like Thunder"-- along with artwork specially commissioned for the stories-- grace the pages of this year's book, which is currently available for purchase at the B&N on South Virginia.
I picked up my copy yesterday during the authors' book signing event and it was a real pleasure to meet Weber and Kulicher. Not only are their stories a pair of good reads, but they are both really great people, and it is super cool that the Biggest Little City and the Silver State can increase our Spec-Fic cred by claiming them as our own... #GushingFanboy
(And just as I was writing this post, I got an e-mail from Joni Labaqui over at the Writers of the Future organization (We do communicate back and forth a few times each year and I do get invited to the awards ceremony each year (#namedropper), but I keep putting it off, hoping to one day attend as an honoree!) and it seems that WotF #32 is currently #1 on the B&N Science Fiction Fantasy list and #1 on the Amazon Hot New Releases list...)
"The meal was going okay until I noticed the cockroach..."
I work mostly in Fantasy and Science Fiction, which I think is interesting, since one of my favorite writers and inspirations is Stephen King. So I'm proud to announce that my latest story, in the category of Horror (or if not quite horror, at least 'dark ' or 'weird'), is now live on the site, "Bosley Gravel's Cavalcade of Terror."
Gravel's own work appears in a number of publications, and he maintains the Calvalcade of Terror as a blog site where he posts short fiction in the genre.
So if you're in the mood for a little change of pace, something a little different from my usual, please feel free to click on over for a quick read. http://dreadfullittlepress.com/cavalcade/
Mash Stories is a quarterly online writing competition in which an author is given three random words to be woven into a story of 500 words or less. Submissions that are shortlisted are published on the site, and compete for a top prize of cash and coaching.
A few quarters ago, my story, "Independent Contractor," was shortlisted, and I have to say, I think it is one of my better efforts. And now I'm immensely proud to share that a sequel to that story, "Art Education," with the return of the deadly Miss Hafir, has been shortlisted for the current competition.
One reason I like these two stories so much is that, while I consider myself a multi-genre writer, the bulk of my work sits squarely within the realm of Speculative Fiction (an umbrella term for science fiction, fantasy and horror, for those of you unfamiliar with the label). But my flash pieces on Mash Stories are more action/thriller. The role models for most of my work are folk like Robert Heinlein and Stephen KIng, while for these stories, I've tried to channel my inner John D. MacDonald.
So click on over to the site and give it a read. If you like it, I'd be honored if you'd give it a kudo, and I'd be thrilled if you leave a comment.
Thanks for reading!
Apparently, I like my fantasy the way I like my coffee... strong, hot, and brewed in the 1980s.
How else to explain my penchant for writing so much about the stories and books that came out back in the glory days? My latest review over on the award-winning genre site Fantasy-Faction takes a look at an anthology that was put together by Jack Dann and one of my personal faves, Gardner Dozois. They would go on to co-edit several themed collections, but this one about unicorns was among the very first.
Read the post on Fantasy-Faction.
From the very first chapter of The Sacred Band, I had a feeling about how I wanted to write this review, and the further in I went, the more certain I became. Reading this book from Janet Morris and Chris Morris is exactly like meeting an old classmate from high school, some 25 or 30 years after you’ve graduated and gone your separate ways out into the world to make your fortunes.
And when I say exactly, I mean exactly. Because the characters in this book, well I first met them and became close with them back in the mid-1980s, back in high school. Critias, Straton, Nikodemos, Tempus (oh Tempus!), and the rest of his Sacred Band of Stepsons. Perhaps we weren’t exactly friends, but I did have more than a nodding acquaintance with them, yes, and with the rest of the residents of the shared-universe fantasy world of Sanctuary....
Read the full blog post at Fantasy-Faction.com!
The new offering from Darkhouse Books-- Stories from the World of Tomorrow-- has been available on Amazon in print and digital for a few days, but today is actually the official release date, coinciding with a rather significant date in science (and sci-fi) history.
I'm pleased and honored to have a story-- "A Deep Breath of Tomorrow"-- included in this anthology of tales inspired by the future envisioned by the 1939 Worlds Fair.
I don't think that it gives anything away to note that inspiration for my story came in part from the DC comics archives of Superman's appearance at the Fair in 1939 (and from the reimagining of the Worlds Fair that was presented in the Generations project from DC). (And there's a nod to Robert Heinlein in there, too.)
The anthology is full to the brim with more than a dozen stories that present a wide range of style and subject.
Check it out on Amazon.com.
After a short hiatus, I return to the Fantasy-Faction website with an article about the fantasy stories of Robert Heinlein. Fantasy-Faction has racked up an impressive number of award nominations over the past few years, and was selected as Reddit's Best Fantasy Site for 2014.
Last week, hosted by the the University of Nevada Cadet Band, at the National Auto Museum, sponsored by QM Resorts... among the attendees were the Cyborg Cowboy, the Riddler, and the Classy 1950s Broad. :) And the Virginia Reel!
This morning, while my friend Herky was qualifying for the Boston Marathon with a time of under 3:30 in the Pacific Northwest Marathon (way to go, Herky!), I was doing a little running of my own... running down to the local comic shop for Free Comic Book Day, that is. :)
Free Comic Book Day is a good time to reiterate a certain point that I feel fairly strongly about. Yes, the movies based on the comics are great (no, haven't seen Age of Ultron yet!) and the other comic-based products are fun (the Arkham Asylum videogame series has been a hot topic in our house lately), BUT... I think it's really important to remember the COMIC BOOKS.
The comics are the roots and the origins. The books present the special and unique sequential art. So when you're embracing the comic culture, don't neglect the foundation of the industry. Show some love to the writers and artists... go buy a comic book.
Made a great find at a used bookstore in Carson City, Nev., a few weeks ago, this copy of Astounding Science Fiction magazine from September 1957. It's pretty beat-up, with the back cover missing and the front cover torn and doodled on(!), but the cover story is Robert Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy, part one of a four-part serialization.
Also of note in this issue, a letter to editor John Campbell from Roberta Wild, secretary of the 15th World Science Fiction Convention, slated for Sept, 7-9, 1957 in London, with details about the event, including the fees: Membership fee $1; Entrance fee $1; Convention Luncheon $1.50; Hotel $2.85 for bed and breakfast, lunch $0.80, dinner $0.90.
Wow. Just wow. :)