New Story: Sky Castles of Yesterday

skycastles cover - new

The next in my series of one-off short stories that began with Broken Places of the Earth is now available.

This is kind of an experimental story, told in past, present, and future tense and includes my favorite monster, one who was created in a story included in Shaolin vs Vikings and also had an appearance in The Chaos Gods Come to Meatlandia.

Anyway, it’s pretty short. If you read and it and love it or hate it or have any kind of opinion at all, let me know!

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New Story: Broken Places of the Earth

 

 

 

In a bit of an experiment, I’m going to sell some of my short stories directly on Amazon. Yeah I know they will be buried under the deluge of other self-published titles but I do like having control of my stories and there’s little reason not to try.

I have a couple of stories that I will try this with. The first one is a post-apocalyptic tale that I’ve been working on since 2012 but recently spent some solid time really hammering it out. I don’t want to spoil it too much, but as much as anything it’s probably a reflection upon cultural apotheosis.

I of course spent far too much time designing the cover, and although in the end decided on the above image to the left (even though there are no boats in the story) over the one on the right (even though there are ruined buildings in the story.) Sorry for the spoilers, but in the end I just think the boat image looks better. Let me know if you agree or think otherwise (or have any graphic design advice at all).

Thanks to the suggestion of a friend, I even developed a post apocalyptic pidgin for the characters to speak. I aimed to make it learnable by context but if anyone should want to see the key it’s below.

  • old man / elder:               granibu
  • parents:                             Ibu IbuIbu (pl)
  • broken glass:                    sharp
  • know:                                 jua
  • shaman/ historian:          granjua
  • ground:                              jangwa
  • desert;                                wikjangwa
  • holy:                                   lotuila
  • children:                            chibu
  • dangerous, frightening: Wikit
  • church                                lotu

You can check it out by going HERE

Who will Edit the Editors?

I once worked with an editor who said ridiculously nice things about my writing. Nicer than mom could even say! You really have to see it for yourself. I went back and dug up some quotes, only redacting any identifying details. These are the comments for a story I subbed (and was subsequently accepted.)

  • “I’m still psychologically gushing over your story. You’ve ruined me for all other fiction.”
  • “I have read it three times already, it’s that good. I was a philosophy major in college, so the mythos of your story spoke to me. Loved every word. I suppose I shouldn’t be saying that, seeing it isn’t “contract time” yet, but it embued a kind of raw elegance you don’t find much in today’s fiction community.”
  • “It is a STUNNING piece of literature. I am so honored to have it… I hope you submit more in the future. You took me to a place I’d never been before, and that is exciting. I’m a true devotee.”

I was a little uncomfortable with such fulsome words–compliments that effusive come off as sarcastic. But there was no reason to believe they weren’t genuine. A year or two later, the editor contacted me to contribute to a new anthology they were working on.  This resulted in another avalanche of very nice things being said.

  • “No pressure…but if you are interested, I would hold a space for you.” 
  • “I really hope you write something…. It would be a treat to see what you come up with… I love you and your work. I still hold [your story]…as one of my absolute favorites….(if not my top favorite…) That story was luminous. It would make such a wonderful movie. I love that you write so visually.”
  • “Your work, in my opinion, is transcendent. You remind me of a sweeter version of Clive Barker. Just beautiful….”
  • “Your work definitely resonates with me. I love heightened fiction. Elegance in terror is wonderful from my perspective. I just love it when a story is frightening and atmospheric, as well as beautifully written. You’ve always got a home [with me]….”

Those are direct quotes that I share because approximation couldn’t even hint at the actual tone. Thus I wrote a story that was probably pretty on par with the first story that the editor had purchased. Nothing great but hopefully not eye-blindingly bad.

I sent it off and waited.

A few months later, it was rejected and a call for open submissions went out. As far as I know, the anthology never came out. I was paid for the first story but never received the physical copy of the book. Now, I don’t think the editor should have had to buy a story they didn’t like, but it’s a tough world when you’re the next Clive Barker and you still can’t make it through the slush!