It’s June

This year has been disappearing fast, and I wish I could say that the piles of work in my inbox were disappearing just as quickly, but everything I’m working on seems to be moving in slow motion. I have made progress on some of my writing projects, but I’ve stalled out on a couple of things.

Behind the scenes at Corrugated Sky, we’re putting together our fourth anthology, which should be available in the fall. It’s the first one that we’ve opened to outside submissions, so we’ll be finalizing the selections this week and sending out emails to authors. I’m working on my own entry, which involves fireflies and fairies.

What’s more fun is that we’re going to be doing the Shore Leave event in Baltimore this year, and we’ll have at least eight titles on display at our table. If you’re in the area, come on by and say hello. I’ll post more information about the event as it gets near (the date is in the events box on the right of the page).

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Zombies!

My latest story has been published in Corrugated Sky‘s anthology Cold as Death, a collection of four not-too-gruesome zombie stories. We got the editing and formatting of the book done and had our printed copies in hand just in time for RavenCon 14, where we had a vendor table. Our exhibits are starting to look pretty impressive: we had seven titles for sale, which included three anthologies and four novels.

The stories in Cold as Death have a wide range of locations: mine takes place on the asteroid Thisbe, where the zombies work as miners. The other stories are situated in Cape Cod, Casablanca, and Los Angeles. None of the stories is a gore-fest and all of them are suitable for adults and young adults. We’re also moving our books to Ingram, which means they’ll be available for purchase from more vendors, as well as showing up in bookstores nationwide.

And now that the zombies have been dispensed with (!), we’re busy working on our fourth anthology. The theme for this upcoming volume is urban magic, and it’s the first anthology that we’ve opened for submissions. In the next few weeks we’ll be reading through our submissions and getting the accepted ones ready for the editing process, as well as putting the finishing touches on our own entries.

Thursday Writing Prompt No. 147

Ah, it’s past midnight, so technically this is a Friday writing prompt, but I’m not going to break with tradition and change the name of the post. It’s been a long week at work and my eyes are bleary, but I just can’t sleep, and so here I am working on the blog.

I lay awake in bed for an hour and I kept seeing airplane lights out the window until I realized that it was fireflies that I was seeing. Here it is mid-June already, and usually I’m peeking out the window in the evening waiting for the fireflies to appear, but this year I haven’t even thought about them. I suppose that has a lot to do with my troglodyte existence these days, although I did pry myself outside today and went for a walk in a local park and got some sunshine.

My zombie short story is coming along very, very slowly. Actually I should say that it is shambling along, which is par for the course as far as zombies are concerned. We are still hoping to have the anthology out by Halloween (in case you missed my earlier post about it, this book will be Corrugated Sky’s third anthology and will contain four short stories). In other news, I signed up for the Zombies, Run! pro app and I’m restarting season one.

I was going to do a prompt about alliteration, but since I’ve spent so much time writing about zombies, I guess that gives us a natural topic for this week, doesn’t it? Okay, maybe zombies are not exactly “natural,” but let’s go with it. Your task is to create a zombie character and write a description about it. Put some effort into making the zombie a real character so it’s not just another moaning shambler out on a brain-search. How did it become a zombie? What was it before it turned? And can a zombie have a goal other than eating brains? Maybe … that’s your department. Now go forth and write, and don’t let the zombies bite!

More Steam!

This week we are promoting our Steampunk anthology, Smoke and Steam, Corrugated Sky’s second title. The four stories are novella length, and yes, there are airships!

I’m answering the question about what inspired my story “Hekatite.” When we first decided on a Steampunk theme for the second anthology I began thinking about Victorian adventure stories, which is something that’s always had appeal for me. Journey to the Center of the Earth? Check. The Time Machine? Check. The Mysterious Island? Check. Check.

Combine that interest with the fact that I’d written about Arctic and Antarctic exploration a couple of years back for an encyclopedia that is coming out this year, and I suppose the germ of an idea was hatched. Oh, and throw in a James Bond-esque island with a hidden warehouse inside it, and you have Seacombe.

My story “Hekatite” takes place in the same world that my novel Seacombe Island is set, and includes three characters from the novel. The events in the novella take place roughly five years before the events in the novel and the story fills in some back story for the characters as well as information about Hekatite, the mysterious fuel that everyone wants to get their hands on. Hekatite is a volatile energy source that is refined from the Hekate orchid, a fictitious plant that grows only on Seacombe. Unfortunately, while the Hekatite is a great source of energy, it’s also quite poisonous.

Ha! You knew there was a catch, didn’t you? Well, there wouldn’t be much story if everything was so easy!

Now as it happens, I wrote “Hekatite” before I finished the final round of drafts on Seacombe Island. I found myself stuck on a few details about the protagonist and his interactions with a few of the characters, and writing the short story helped me sort out quite a few plot issues that I hadn’t managed to get a handle on. “Hekatite” is a fun read and I think you’ll be hooked and want to read the novel. Or, if you’ve read the novel, pick up the anthology. And if you haven’t read either, get both books! It won’t matter if you read the story or the novel first; while “Hekatite” fills in some blanks, it won’t spoil the plot of the novel and you’ll feel superior when you have an inkling of what’s happening while the novel’s protagonist, Thomas Ashton, is still trying to figure out what’s going on at Seacombe Island.

And actually, I’m still trying to figure out Seacombe Island. I’m sure the island is big enough for a few more mysteries — and a few more stories.