Tales Oft-Repeated

Bearded Scribe Press has put out another slate of mini-interviews with contributors to Twice Upon A Time: Fairytale, Folklore, & Myth. Reimagined & Remastered. (which includes my story, “Tall”). Like last time, rather than inundate with a week’s worth, I’m taking the consolidated approach. Click one name, click all, click as your little heart desires. And if your little heart decides after reading that you want yourself a copy of this not-so-little anthology, click the link I put on the title of it above, or on the sidebar. Look at all these fun options the world gives.

Bo Balder (“Bog Trade”)
I just loved [Jack Vance’s] ironic details and grotesque imagination. I wanted to be just like him…all my teenage work is one big Vance pastiche.

AJ Bauers (“The Screw-Up”)
When you get that first bad critique, don’t hide from it. Embrace it. It’s going to hurt like hell, especially if it’s the first time you ever show your work to someone, but it’s going to make you and your work stronger.

Tracy Arthur Soldan (“Sinobrody 0.9.8″)
It was unusual for a small rural library in 1969 to have a section for speculative fiction, and I think I read just about everything that had a rocket ship or atom symbol on the spine. The first book I can clearly recall is The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin; I was the first person to check it out when a copy arrived in the summer of 1970.

Can You Fanart Yourself?

I’m not always inclined to take a crack at my own characters, largely because I hate disappointing myself by coming up with a visual which doesn’t remotely match the character in my head.

That said, I’m pretty happy with how Acaja (From “At Her Fingertips,” up in the current issue of Betwixt magazine) turned out, so I figured I’d share:

I will admit that the coin she’s flipping wound up there because what I couldn’t manage to draw to my own satisfaction was the sidestep unit which is so essential to Acaja’s plans. I’m still generally under-impressed with how I render tech.

Instead, she’s got anachronistic physical currency. We’ll say she found it in the scrapyard.

Adventure Epics About Intrepid Grease Monkeys

Ten fingers, ten toes. That’s the baseline for a healthy kid, right? You’d have thought I’d be a bonus, what with eighteen fingers. Guess they all have to function before you count them.

As Deficiencies go, mine’s not so bad. The Skew was a hell of a thing, and everyone on the Rim’s still feeling it. I knew a guy once had a fully formed jaw down around his nuts. I only wish I was kidding. On the upside, the hinge didn’t work, or it would’ve been a nightmare sitting down.

Cover art: The Woods by Boudewijn Berends
Used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0) license
Image edits by Leland Spencer

“At Her Fingertips,” goes live today over at Betwixt magazine. This is another story set on the Rim — the asteroid colonies / ghettos populated by victims of the genetic plague known as the Skew — which first appeared in “Detritus.” If you haven’t read that first story, don’t worry; this is a different asteroid, a different protagonist, and a story intended to stand on its own.1

Acaja is a skilled pilot, talented mechanic, and surly piece of business. She’s also a dreamer and a romantic, but if you tell anyone, she might just beat you to a within an inch of your life. A lady has a reputation to keep.

Acaja wants off her asteroid colony, Rixzah, out of the literal garbage dump she works in, and into the arms of … oh, but that would be spoilers.

Part caper, part romance, all complicated-and-surly protagonist, and totally free to read. Though, of course, if you enjoy it, consider buying the ebook or dead tree versions via the Betwixt site. And maybe think about picking up “Detritus” (link on the right or on my bibliography page) for more weird stuff from the Rim.

1. Folks who have read “Detritus” may recognize at least one character here, and pick up one or more other easter eggs, mind.

Click. Read. Enjoy.

I’ve a longer post in the works, but need to clear a few things first. In the meantime, here’s the short version:

“At Her Fingertips,” a new story of the Rim (from “Detritus”), is now live over at Betwixt magazine. It’s free to read, so everyone’s out of excuses. If you’re reading this post, you have everything you need to dive in. It’s the story of a frustrated mechanic who wants a lot more out of her life, and is determined to change her luck if she has to build that change with her own genetically-off-model hands.

Why are you still here? Click it, read it, then tell everyone you like to do the same. You can even tell people you don’t like.

Pulling Back the Curtain

This past Saturday, I was finally able to marry the man I’ve been with through eight years and (some not insignificant legal) change. It’s been a long time coming, and it was a lot of wonderful things. My husband (!) designed a crazy-spectacular steampunk wedding with what shouldn’t have been nearly a large enough budget, and melted my heart in all the right ways. He knows that, and if he doesn’t, then I’ve got work to do, but that’s marriage, right?

Wonderful, too, were all the people who worked their effing butts off driving U-hauls or carting set pieces or tying strings for lanterns or, honestly, showing up and being there. Every little bit helped and mattered and there aren’t enough letters on the keyboard to express my thanks.

I’m not going to spend more time gushing about the awesome, though, because let’s be honest: that just winds up sounding like bragging, anyway. I’m not here to make everyone who wasn’t there jealous that they couldn’t be. Quite the opposite.

For several personal reasons that I’m not going into (this post may be a lot more open about my personal life than others, but I’m still a private person), when the legal window opened in Florida, we wound up with a short timetable for planning and pulling off a wedding. If we had any hope of getting anyone at all there, we had to invite quite quickly. But because of the same restrictions that meant we were rushing out invites, our guest list had to be painfully short.

There are a lot of people in the world we love, and whom we know love us. Extended family members and friends whom we knew would be ecstatic for us, the sight of whom would make us ecstatic. And we couldn’t have them all.

Back when I taught, we used to talk about how a heavily-edited paper was “bleeding” from the red pen. Our invitation list felt a lot less metaphorical in its bleeding. You can’t see it, but every name we crossed off to make it possible to have our wedding at all was like slicing off our fingertips. Some people understood and some people didn’t. I think more of the former than the latter, but I’m not a telepath, so I suppose I’m just guessing.

Whether it’s people you couldn’t invite or people who couldn’t attend for schedule or financial reasons or — because we’re human — people who couldn’t be there because they’ve passed, no matter how long you can make your guest list, there will always be someone missing.

We had oh so many of all those folks. That they weren’t lined up in chairs back further than the horizon ached just below our chests and stung the corner of our eyes.

But we saw and felt at least a bit of them in loaned props and set pieces, in original creations crafted with amazing talent and skill, in vendors we only found from recommended phone numbers and names they let us drop. They were there from the remnants of their strong hugs when we ran into each other out in the world. They lingered in every verbal or virtual “congratulations.”

That wedding wasn’t just three months in the offing. Or even eight years.

You helped make it happen if we ever met you. From every small or large interaction, good or bad, that eventually steered the two of us together, kept the two of us together. If you think this is about you, it is. You’re why and how this happened.

And we can’t thank you enough.

Twice Hyped Tales

With bouncing and whatnot for future publications, I don’t want to forget the stuff that’s out there. The Bearded Scribe Press, publisher of Twice Upon A Time: Fairytale, Folklore, & Myth. Reimagined & Remastered. (which includes my story, “Tall”) has been putting together more material to let people know about the authors behind so many of these stories. Rather than turn this little corner into All Twice Upon All The Time, I’m condensing them here. Click one name, click all, click as your little heart desires. And if your little heart decides after reading that you want yourself a copy of this not-so-little anthology, click the link I put on the title of it above, or on the sidebar. Look at all these fun options the world gives.

Rose Blackthorn (“Before the First Day of Winter”)
I […] have a passion for post-apocalyptic fiction, and I was curious to explore what might happen to a diminishing population of selkies after human beings have poisoned the world in some great final war.

Court Ellyn (“The Bone Harp”)
I wasn’t supposed to read fantasy, because it led to irresponsible, even dangerous, lifestyles. So I had to buy the book behind my mother’s back. I love you, Mother.

Steven Anthony George (“Patient Griselda”)
It was not in fiction writers, but playwrights that I found inspiration. I found the language of Edward Albee and Tennessee Williams both strange and poetic and I wanted to write in a similar style.

Dale W. Glaser (“My Name is Melise”)
[T]he concept of the anthology, not only re-telling fairy tales but mashing them up with other genres, was an inspiration itself, as I decided to take things in a dark science-fiction direction in order to create a rational explanation for the fantastic elements of the original.

This Makes It a Series, Right?

I’m bouncing a little bit, because I can officially say I have another story sold and on the horizon.

Betwixt will be publishing one of my stories in their April issue. If you liked “Detritus,” this story is set in the same world. If you didn’t like “Detritus,” this is a whole different POV character, so give it a try anyway. If you didn’t read “Detritus,” then super double plus check it out, because it’ll be free to read online, so you’re working with a zero risk proposition.

More info as I have it, and links when the story goes live.