Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Friday, October 31, 2014

    Hasta la vista, RWA

    Ah, Romance Writers of America, you were afraid Gamergate wasn't trashing women creators quite enough. So you've decided to vote in punitive membership requirements, including automated review software to determine whether a writer's book qualifies for the exalted name of Romance. 
    I'd post a link, but in a move that almost qualifies as cunning, RWA has only posted the new rules and procedures in the members only section, split among several different releases and FAQs. But I can provide the full text of the letter of protest I wrote to my local RWA chapter, Washington Romance Writers, as soon as the proposed rules were shared with the organization's members:

    First off let me say I love you all, and everyone is entitled to their opinion on the proposed changes to RWA’s membership rules. This is mine.
    The tax code isn’t magic. It isn’t foolproof, either. It’s a compilation of often conflicting Congressional directives, composed by bureaucrats and compounded in obscurity by changing fashions in legal language and punctuation. As a result, you can make it stand up and dance to any tune you choose. All you need to do is line up your intentions with the laws core requirements.
    What are the core requirements of the law with respect to a group like RWA seeking to retain its tax-exempt status as a professional organization? Stripped of all the fancy language, the applicable requirements come down to this: RWA must define the professional group it will serve, its mission with respect to that group, and the goals it will pursue in the group’s interest in terms which do not conflict with the laws of the United States and its Territories.
    In other words, no matter how you look at it, RWA gets to define its purpose, mission and goals. I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is the punitive terms of the proposed definitions, the outrageous provisions for enforcing those definitions, and the blatant indifference to the professional interests of the majority of its members, regardless of their status.
    Genre is a marketing concept which only became the norm in North America within the past fifty years. It exists solely to help publishers and booksellers point potential customers to big bunches of books they might like without the need for personalized recommendations. It’s not a universal concept. Most European bookstores don’t organize their shelves that way.
    In the past few years, RWA has turned itself inside out trying to define romance. Is it between a man and woman? Can a LGBQT love story qualify? What about a girl and an alien? A boy and his vampire? Werewolves and cat shifters? What about a story with hot sex scenes or more than one partner/life mate?
    That’s not how the ever-consolidating number of big publishers looks at it. As far as New York is concerned, if the story focuses on a romantic relationship involving characters legally or culturally defined as adult, regardless of planetary or magical origin, and resolves itself into a happy ending, it’s classified as romance. If a story about Young Hannibal Lector hooking up with Shub-Niggurath struck the right note, they’d throw that in there, too.
    Even this categorization is too particular for most readers. Unless you are an RWA member, a reader who exclusively reads Romance-with-a-Capital-R, or an attorney or CPA paid by an writing organization with an agenda, the term romance embraces everything from Nicholas Sparks to Sara Gruen to Charlotte Bronte (whose body of work would not qualify her for RWA membership, Jane Eyre notwithstanding). Remember, genre is a marketing construct without basis in law or tradition.  It is whatever you say it is.
    For example, the first winner of the Hugo, science fiction’s highest award, was Alfred Bester’s The Demolition Man. It was a futuristic police procedural mystery in which the only truly speculative element was telepathy.
    Which means RWA has a lot of scope when it comes to defining itself as an organization dedicated to supporting the interests of professional writers in the romance genre. Do these proposed rules take advantage of that scope? No. Instead they restrict the definition of a professional writer of romance to writers blessed by circumstance with the time and contacts to produce what a small clique of individuals consider a published romance of acceptable length. It’s like an exclusive 1950s country club. “After all, we can’t have the *wrong element* taking tea in the clubhouse with respectable folk, now can we?”
    If that wasn’t bad enough, they plan to enforce these exclusionary policies with a shadowy (and dubiously funded) cadre of monitors tasked to grub around in the members’ proprietary financial information like a Facebook data miner on steroids, and grade their output like a multiple choice quiz. The notion is preposterous and completely unparalleled in other professional writing organizations.
    I’m not saying SFWA, MWA, Novelists Inc., or the rest are perfect. Far from it. But they’re a lot less hypocritical about determining member qualifications and rights. They establish their membership requirements right up front. They won’t take your money unless you meet those qualifications. Once you’re in, you stay in as long as you pay your dues, don’t commit any major felonies, and don’t unduly harass the other members. Not one of them can boast anything approaching RWA’s membership numbers, yet their various records with respect to insurance and catastrophic aid to members put us to shame.
    How long did it take RWA to offer insurance? Would it have even happened without the Affordable Care Act? What’s RWA’s idea of catastrophic financial aid? A scholarship to Nationals. Riiiight.
    This brings up another aspect of the proposed rules: their unmitigated cruelty to writers afflicted by bad health or impossible employment situations, or who are the primary caregivers of ailing loved ones. Those situations can last for years, and the recovery takes even longer. You think you can write saleable fiction in a situation like that? Don’t kid yourself. The notion that you can write through life-consuming stress without destroying your own health and creative spark is a lie promulgated by abusive bosses through the ages to further their own ends, not yours.
    While we’re on the subject of abuse, let’s not forget the vagaries of the publishing industry—traditional and Amazon-dependent—which is currently going through more convulsions than RWA. For example, Macmillan authors can wait up to five years between the signing of the contract and the appearance of the first book in a new series. The tenure of an acquisitions editor can be measured in weeks.  Their departure inevitably orphans writers and their works. Years and incalculable emotional and creative energy--energy and time stolen straight from the writing--can be spent unraveling predatory contracts.
    Romance writers pride themselves on being nurturers. Yet these proposed rules are the opposite of nurturing. They penalize the very writers who most need and support of a committed professional organization. Published writers don’t stop being professionals or writers because circumstances beyond their control prevented them from putting new words on the page or shriveled up their sources of income. Yet for all their skill, they’ll have a more difficult time getting published than a shiny new face willing to accept an underfunded contract just to get their foot in the door.  And if by some miracle these returning writers publish something that by all rights should be celebrated as a romance, how long will it take to reinstate them to full memberships?  Will they be vetted in time to compete for any awards for which they might otherwise be eligible?  We're Washington writers. We know better; bureaucracy doesn't work that fast. Ever.
    For years romance writers have been sensitive about how we are perceived by the media and the general public. RWA National and chapter conferences even offer seminars on how to address the issue in public forums. If that worries you, think about how this will play on Stephen Colbert.
    Think also about whether or not anyone ever questioned Thomas Pynchon's status as a professional writer although he goes ten years between novels. Imagine how J.D. Salinger--and his agent--would've reacted if anyone tried to peer into his finances. Ask yourself if Mystery Writers of America has any plans to show Charlaine Harris the door now that her novels are shelved in the SF/Fantasy section. Then contemplate the sorry case of Harper Lee, in a fight to the literal death with publishers, agents and caretakers, all of whom claim to know what's right for her. They all say they have her best interests at heart. They know what's right for her. Do you believe them?
    So why should you believe a professional organization who wants you to pay dues and yet seeks to limit your ability to exercise the rights of a full voting member? Do you think RWA has your best interests at heart? Consider the organization’s track record--how long it took to get insurance for its members, the years of fighting it took to recognize the legitimacy of erotic romance, the years it demonized e- and self-publishing, its dilatory and half-hearted responses to predatory publishers. Do you think you can trust these people to protect your rights as a writer unless you have a say in their deliberations? Why should you pay them to protect your interests if you don't have a say in defining what constitutes your interests as a professional and a writer of romance?
    That’s the heart of the matter for me. I don’t think I’d object so much to the new rules if it signaled RWA’s desire to collapse itself into a much smaller organization dedicated to serving a narrowly defined group of professionals, excluding all others. But they don’t want to reduce the number of members to the writing niche it proposes to serve. It wants to grow its non-voting membership and use their due to support the aims and interests of a much smaller cabal who will have absolute, unregulated power to determine who joins their privileged number.
    That’s taxation without representation, folks. We fought a war about that against the British once upon a time, women as well as men—women whose efforts on the home front and occasionally in the trenches made possible the ultimate victory of Washington's army.
    One of those women on the home front was Abigail Adams. She wrote to her husband, later the second President of the United States, at the Continental Congress in 1776: "...remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation."
    But John Adams and the other delegates to the Continental Congress didn't pay any attention. They were in charge, which obviously meant they knew what was best us simple-minded womenfolk.
    Yeah, like that turned out so well. It was another hundred and forty years before American women were finally recognized as full citizens of the country they helped to create. We still make less than 87 cents on the dollar compared to men of equal education and experience. You'd think an organization founded by women supporting a genre primarily written by women would learn something from that.
    I can hear the objections even before I hit send. "But I wouldn't be a writer if it weren't for RWA. The programs... My chapter... My friends... The fellowship…" To which I say it was never the organization or the paid officials whose salaries are paid by your dues.  It was the good-hearted individuals who make up local chapters like WRW--chapters who raise their own funds to pay for conferences, scholarships and monthly programs with virtually no support and considerable interference by the national organization--who helped you. Writers and aspiring writers who will continue to pay it forward with priceless volunteerism, support and encouragement regardless of what RWA National decides to do.
    As for the national organization, well, at the moment I believe my professional interests as a romance writer--as a writer. Period--would be best served by donating my RWA dues to the legal defense of Dear Author in their fight against the defamation suit wrongfully brought by Ellora's Cave. Dear Author is fighting for their First Amendment rights, and by extension, the First Amendment rights of every writer victimized by publisher malfeasance. I can get behind that.
    Taxation without representation? Not so much.

    The issues I raised in that open letter were just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Those in the group with financial management and legal background raised grave concerns about liability issues, copyright violations, etc. I hope they will share their concerns publicly in the days ahead. 
    Not that I expect it to matter to RWA officials, nor do I expect them to be swayed by the departure of members like me, who are appalled by the organization's current direction. Romance is half the fiction market. RWA is too big to care. It is unsinkable!
    Yeah, that's exactly what they said about the Titanic.
    Now excuse me. Now that I won't be renewing my RWA membership, I've got checks to write.

    Wednesday, October 8, 2014

    My Capclave Schedule

    Capclave starts tomorrow! Where did the year go? It seems to have filled up like...well, like my Capclave schedule, which is nothing if not exciting. That's okay. I like exciting.
    Hope to see you there--there being the Hilton Washington, DC North/Gaithersburg in Gaithersburg, Maryland. And as always, there will be chocolate...

    5 PM, Rockville/Potomac Room
    Humorous SF
    Panelists: John Ashmead (M), Norm Sherman, Alex Shvartsman, Jean Marie Ward
    It's easy to name the funny fantasy books, but what about the funny SF books and short stories? For instance, Unidentified Funny Objects was an entire anthology of funny SF.

    8 PM, Rockville/Potomac
    No Means No
    Panelists: Inge Heyer, Natalie Luhrs, Emmie Mears, Jon Skovron, Jean Marie Ward (M)
    There is a great disturbance in science fiction and fantasy. As fans and writers you have the right to expect respect.

    9 PM, Bethesda
    Don't Go There. Unless You Really Want To.
    Panelists: Brenda W. Clough, David G. Hartwell, Shahid Mahmud, Jean Marie Ward (M)
    Taboo subjects in fantasy and science fiction. Are there any? What lines won't you cross? What lines should you cross?

    11 PM, Salon A
    The Appeal of King Arthur
    Panelists: Tom Doyle, Max Gladstone, Robert Greenberger, David G. Hartwell, Darrell Schweitzer, Jean Marie Ward (M)
    What makes so many writers from Twain to Mary Stewart to Lerner and Lowe produce their own takes on 'the matter of Britain'? Why do King Arthur books thrive while other legends like Robin Hood get far less attention? What are the best takes on the Arthurian legend?

    2 PM, Bethesda
    Smart Women Foolish Television
    Panelists: Barbara Krasnoff, Sherin Nicole (M), Janine Spendlove, Genevieve Valentine, Jean Marie Ward, Fran Wilde
    We all have those shows we watch and love and maybe love to pick on because they are our guilty pleasures. We revel in their cliches and inconsistent writing and leaps of logic. Or in their bizarre yet internally consistent alternate realities (even if they're supposed to be based in the real world). Ahistorical historical shows and why we love their anachronisms.

    7:30 PM, Salon A
    Mass Signing
    Participants: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Sarah Avery, Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black, Marilyn "Mattie" Brahen, Neil Clarke, Tom Doyle, Andy Duncan, Scott Edelman, Jim Freund, Charles E. Gannon, Max Gladstone, David G. Hartwell, Alma Katsu, Pamela K. Kinney, Barbara Krasnoff, Dina Leacock, James Maxey, Will McIntosh, Mike McPhail, Sunny Moraine, James Morrow, Sarah Pinsker, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Lawrence M. Schoen, Darrell Schweitzer, Alex Shvartsman, Jon Skovron, Alan Smale, Bud Sparhawk, Janine Spendlove, Genevieve Valentine, Michael A. Ventrella, Jean Marie Ward, Lawrence Watt-Evans
    The Saturday evening mass autographing session.

    11 PM, Bethesda
    Eye of Argon
    Panelists: Walter H. Hunt, Sarah Pinsker, Ian Randal Strock, Michael A. Ventrella (M), Jean Marie Ward
    Our panelists read the worst fantasy story ever written, mistakes and all, and if they laugh or read it incorrectly, they are forced to act out the story. Just try not to fall over laughing! At some point, volunteers from the audience can participate and discover firsthand the author's contentious relationship with spelling, capitalization and punctuation.

    12 PM, Rockville/Potomac
    Can A Small Town Elf Make it in the Big City?
    Panelists: Holly Black (M), Jim Freund, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Emmie Mears, Jean Marie Ward
    It's an Urban Fantasy panel. Favorite authors, current trends, what's the next supernatural creature to hit it big now that vampires, zombies and angels have all had a turn in the spotlight?

    4 PM, Bethesda
    The Darker Side of Fae
    Panelists: Holly Black, Pamela K. Kinney, Janine Spendlove, Jean Marie Ward (M)
    Not everyone can be Tinkerbell (who wasn't all sweetness and light), sometimes the world is a little less clean and pure. Both the Seelie and Unseelie Courts are best avoided if at all possible.

    Friday, September 26, 2014

    Meet me in Charm City!

    You weren't planning anything special this weekend, were you? Certainly nothing as special as seeing me in the great tented outdoors of the Baltimore Book Festival in the Inner Harbor, September 26-28.
    There will be wonderful writers. Jeanne Adams! Danielle Ackley-McPhail! Catherine Asaro! Brenda Clough! Ron Garner! L. Jagi Lamplighter! Laura Lippman! Sujata Massey! Marissa Meyer! Diana Peterfreund! Don Sakers! Alex Shvartsman! Bud Sparhawk! And more (like me)! All available for autographs, panels, photographs and conversation.
    The weather forecasters have promised a weekend of clear skies and balmy, high-seventies temperatures. For a change, they may be right. Yesterday's rain has dried, and the air is growing warmer.
     There will be exhibitor tents and tables scattered the full length of the Inner Harbor. But most of my activities will be focused on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) Tent situated along the south arm of the Inner Harbor horseshoe.
    So far, my schedule looks like this:

    12-1 PM: Reading (Dark Quest Books)
    4-5 PM: Athena's Daughters Autograph Session (Silence in the Library Publishing)

    4-5 PM: How Can I Get My Writing Noticed--A Must Do Panel for Writers in the Modern Age (with Scott Edelman, Elektra Hammond, Don Sakers, Peggy Rae Sapienza, and Mike Underwood)
    5:30-7 PM: Meet-and-Greet Reception with SFWA Authors

    But's that just the merest fraction of the bookish pleasures in store for you at the Book Fest. So say nothing of the one-time, one-of-a-kind goodies to be found, such as the special Temporally Out Of Order Kickstarter postcard.
    This limited edition postcard (seriously, I only printed 50), seen here with a cat who has elevated the art of feline indifference, to the level of a super power will only be available at the Baltimore Book Festival.
    I'll even sign it if you like. If you show proof of funding the Kickstarter, I promise not to sing. Seriously, you wouldn't like me when I sing. ;-)
    Can't wait to see you there!
     And if you need to make absolutely, positively sure I don't sing, you can always pledge to support the new Zombies Need Brains Temporally Out Of Order Kickstarter before you go. Just click here, and you're good. Or at least your eardrums are...

    Monday, September 15, 2014

    Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens is officially ticking!

    Just in time for you to see what all the fuss is about before Zombies Need Brains starts up another Kickstarter, ZNB's first anthology, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens has landed at a retailer near you. It's got Steampunk. It's got little green men, bug-eyed monsters, secret agent chickens and Chihuahuas. What more do you need ?

    A table of contents? We can do that:

    "The Cavorite Job" by Ian Tregillis
    "Gracie's Fire" by Leah Cutter
    "Quinta Essentia" by Bradley P. Beaulieu
    "When Comrade Ekaterina Died for the Motherland" by J.R. Hargenrader
    "A Clockwork Alien" by Gini Koch
    "Heart of the Empire" by Jason Palmatier
    "The Red Queen and the White" by C.B. Pratt
    "The Wizard of Woodrow Park" by Jean Marie Ward (me!)
    "Of War and Wings" by Tansy Raynor Roberts
    "Airship Down: A Sound and Fury Adventure" by Gail Z. and Larry N. Martin
    "Steamsuit" by David J. Fortier
    "Fingers of Steam, Veins of Gold" by Brad Hafford
    "Heart of Clockwork" by S.C. Butler
    "Lady Antheia's Guide to Horticultural Warfare" by Seanan McGuire

    All edited by the irrepressible Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray, the same folks who brought you The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity and After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar.
    Wanna taste? I've got your excerpt right here. Or you could check out one of the early reviews:

    "They take a steampunk nineteenth century…and add aliens. Would Earth even recognize the threat? It’s a nod to industrialism… A high-five to technological advancement… And, above all, kudos to the genius of action-packed prose."

    Not only that, the book comes in all your favorite flavors:

    Trade Paperback 




    What are you waiting for? Those Chihuahuas can't hold out forever, you know. ;-)

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

    My 2014 Dragon Con Schedule

    Yeah, I’ve been a Bad Blogger. In my defense, I’ve been hard at work on Unconventional Fantasy, a huge anthology celebrating the fortieth anniversary of World Fantasy Con, coming up in Crystal City, Virginia, this November.
    About the only thing I’ve had time for is convention appearances, and one of the biggest is coming up fast. I’m about to leave for the World’s Biggest Summer Camp for Wayward Adults: Dragon Con. We’ll be taking over downtown Atlanta, August 29 to September 1. There will be parades! Music! Gaming! Films! Puppetry (no foolin’)! And of course, panels like the these:

    Title: Just the Facts, Ma'am...
    Description: Writers of non-fiction looking for a career boost? This panel is geared toward perfecting your craft--and discovering new outlets for your work.
    Time: Fri 02:30 pm
    Location: Embassy D-F - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
    Panelists: Jean Marie Ward (moderator), John L. Flynn, M. B. Weston, Stuart Jaffe, Anya Martin, Teresa Patterson)

    Title: Athena’s Daughters Signing
    Description: Meet the writers of Athena's Daughters at the Artists Alley table of cover artist Autumn Frederickson.
    Time: Fri 04:30 pm
    Location: Grand Hall West - Hyatt (Length: 1.5 Hours)
    (Panelists: Autumn Frederickson, Jean Marie Ward)

    Title: Athena’s Daughters Authors Meet and Greet
    Description: Meet the talented ladies behind the popular Athena's Daughters Anthology, featuring heroines of all ages and stories for the entire family
    Time: Sat 10:00 am
    Location: A708 - Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
    (Panelists: Janine K. Spendlove, Gail Z. Martin, Jean Marie Ward, Diana Peterfreund)

    Title: SciFi Spies
    Description: Secret agent/spy fiction has always overlapped with SF in a big way, from futuristic gadgets to flying cars to laser cannons in space.
    Time: Sat 11:30 am
    Location: Embassy A-B - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
    (Panelists: Van Allen Plexico, Jean Marie Ward)

    Title: Their World Forever Changed: Chaos and Heartbreak on Lost Girl
    Description: A moderated fan-panel discussion of the hit show. (Note: this is a fan panel. No cast members will be appearing on this panel.)
    Time: Sat 08:30 pm
    Location: Chastain ED - Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
    (Panelists: Jean Marie Ward)

    Title: Who Needs Dystopias When You Have History
    Description: From infant sacrifice in Carthage to the Inquisition, history offers some of the darkest times and places you NEVER want to visit in a time machine.
    Time: Sat 10:00 pm
    Location: Augusta 3 - Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
    (Panelists: Jean Marie Ward (moderator), A. J. Hartley, D.B. Jackson, Katherine Kurtz, Gail Z. Martin, Kathryn Hinds)

    Title: Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
    Description: A program of bite-sized readings from some of your favorite Broad Universe authors.
    Time: Sun 11:30 am
    Location: Vinings - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
    (Panelists: Gail Z. Martin, Janine Spendlove, Jean Marie Ward, Trisha Wooldridge)

    Title: Lifestyles of Science Fiction
    Description: Science fiction doesn't only explore scientific possibilities but also social ones.
    Time: Sun 10:00 pm
    Location: Embassy A-B - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
    (Panelists: Diane Hughes, Jean Marie Ward)

    Title: Victorian Technology
    Description: A panel discussion of the technology of the Victorian era and how to exploit it in your stories or imagination!
    Time: Mon 11:30 am
    Location: Augusta 1-2 - Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
    (Panelists: Jean Marie Ward, Stephanie Osborn)

    Title: Win, Lose or Draw Description: SF style.
    Description: The traditional convention-closer for the SF Literature Track. Once again, I'll be hosting a competition based on contestants ability to get others to decipher their artwork. There will be prizes, too.
    Time: Mon 01:00 pm
    Location: Embassy A-B - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
    (Panelists: Jean Marie Ward)

     Looking forward to seeing you there!

    Tuesday, June 24, 2014

    Okay, that didn't work

    The subscriber button I posted on my website didn't work with any of my email addies. So it's off the sidebar, and I'm back to researching widgets. Ah, the glamour of the Intarwebs--not!

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

    Ah, That New Paint Smell!

    Earlier this year, I got disgusted with the duplication of effort involved in maintaining a blog (which, I admit, I use more as a newsletter than a daily/weekly journal) and a "News" page on my website, Techno-dummy that I am, I wasn't sure I could rectify the problem on my own. The header needed to be changed and that entailed reconstructing the accidental combination of typeface and format I blundered into three versions of image/photo software ago. But I did it--I did it!--without breaking the site.

    Tonight's blog is something of a shakedown cruise for the refreshed site. The basic organization remains the same. The pages don't look noticeably different. But instead of the redundant "News" in the header, there's a shiny new "Articles" tab, which links to my web-based nonfiction. At the moment you'll find about fifty links to interviews on Buzzy Mag, a global link to Crescent Blues, and links to two YouTube features I did for personal research and entertainment.

    My ultimate goal is to resurrect the articles I did for SciFi Weekly back in the day, and post them on the site. Whether I can will depend on the copyright status of the articles. Resolving that will involve buttonholing my former editor at a con, because naturally the program where the electronic contracts were stored crashed and wiped all the data. Lesson to remember, folks, paper is still god. I'm also experimenting with a subscription button to provide email updates when I blog, but the first version I tried doesn't appear to work. Obviously, this calls for more experimentation. I'll let you know when it's operational. Until then, you can try, but don't expect the email they keep promising you. Mine has yet to arrive.

    On a more writerly note, The Mammoth Book of Tales from the Vatican Vaults has accepted my equally mammoth retelling of the 1814 Burning of Washington, "Cooking up a Storm". When I say "mammoth" I mean effing HUGE. I turned in over seventeen thousand words on a call for six. And, oh yeah, the editor and publisher are British, so of course, I made the Brits my villains. The saga of its acceptance is a textbook example of how not to get published. The only thing missing was the typo in the first paragraph (which I managed to do in another submission earlier this year--oops!) Needless to say there was much mad flailing and ecstatic happy dancing when the contract appeared in my inbox.

    I'll post more on the anthology as details become available. But for now just let me say I'll be sharing page space with my good friends John Grant and Dave Hutchinson, as well as folks like Mary Gentle and Storm Constantine. Release is set for spring 2015.

    But that's almost a year away. In the meantime, I've got plenty of new things for you to enjoy. "District Coincidental" made it to the Akashic Books website in February. The link will take you to all 750 words of noir-ish goodness (badness? Who knows with noir?)

    Hellfire Lounge 4: Reflections of Evil hit the stands at the end of May. In it you'll find the latest adventures of Eddie "WOOD LOUSE!" Woodhouse and Ducky "Duc" Orr. The two hapless sorcerers were last seen at the bottom of a jinni's bottle stinking of absinthe. "Glass Transit", my story in HF4 tells the tale of how they escape that predicament only to land in a mirror on the Hindenburg on May 6, 1937. Oh the humanity! Oh, the teeny tiny excerpt!

    Speaking of Eddie and Ducky, their first adventure ("Burning down the House" from Hellfire Lounge 3: Jinn Rummy) will be reprinted with added monkey and Tuckerization in Dance Like a Monkey, the charity anthology to support the inimitable C.J. Henderson during his cancer treatments. That anthology is scheduled for release in a month or two.

    It should appear on the shelves about the same time as The Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens, the first anthology from Zombies Need Brains, Joshua Palmatier's new publishing venture. Joshua and Patricia Bray were the editors of The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity. They had so much fun with that anthology and After Hours: Tales from the Ur Bar they decided to create their own press to publish more.

     My contribution to The Clockwork Universe, "The Wizard of Woodrow Park", involved stuffing a sentient chicken into the head of a Daniel Craig clone and sending him after an anthropologist missing for seventeen years in a steam-powered world. I also punked out a Chihuahua. Imagine my consternation when I discovered people really are putting titanium crowns on the teeth of dogs attached to Special Forces teams. DUDES! I was trying for ABSURD! Though I suppose the secret agent chicken probably has that covered...

    Finally, this entry would not be complete without mentioning Athena's Daughters, the record-busting Kickstarter literary anthology. The anthology's tag line is: Stories about strong women by strong women. To which I should add: Introduced and illustrated by strong women, too. Both the print and electronic versions are now available from Silence in the Library Publishing and should be available from online and bricks-and-mortar retailers soon.

    Given the company--Mary Robinette Kowal, Sherwood Smith, Gail Z. Martin, Diana Peterfreund, Jean Rabe, Janine Spendlove and so many more--I can't tell you how honored I was to be included. But it gets better. My story, "A Gap in the Fence", closes the collection. I still can't believe it. It's a gentle story, but one that means a lot to me. I hope readers will feel the same. That's it for now.

    Happy reading!

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    Athena's Daughters Has Achieved Cover

    Isn't the print cover just gorgeous? I can't wait to hold this book in my hands.

    Even better, from a purely selfish point of view is the illustration for my story, "The Gap in the Fence" (below). Want to know more? Well, you can read a taste of my story here. Or better yet, pre-order the entire book here. You won't be disappointed!

    Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    Awesome Con Schedule is Awesome

    Friday, Saturday and Sunday will find me at the DC Convention Center, indulging in the delights of Awesome Con. Since this will be my first Awesome Con, my schedule is unusually light:

    5:15-6:15 p.m., Friday, April 18
    Part Time Writer, Full Time World

    11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m., Saturday, April 19

    Writing Fantasy This means I'll get to hang with buds like Gail Z. Martin and Silence in the Library Publishers Janine Spendlove and Ron Garner. Yay! Even more remarkable, after more than a decade as a con guest, I might actually get to see some panels other than my own. I can't wait!

    Hope to see you there.