21 Steps to Enlightenment (Minus One) Eligible for 2014 Awards!

So I’m beginning to see people listing the works they’ve done for 2014 that are eligible for awards. My short story “21 Steps to Enlightenment (Minus One)” , published in February 2014 by Strange Horizons, has been generating a lot of buzz, so I thought I get it out there. (and hey, I’m actually on time on making this type of announcement, too!)

You can both read and listen to it on the Strange Horizons website. Also, if you are a Drabblecast B-Side subscriber, you can listen to a reading there as well as view new art!

You may also want to check out my story “Sun-Touched” published by Kaleidotrope in March 2014. 

Thanks for reading!

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New Story! “Ebb and Flow” up at Daily Science Fiction!

My first SWFA sale! It’s a flash story called “Ebb and Flow” and you can read it now for free at Daily Science Fiction!

I wrote this story for a flash contest, back when I was wrestling with feelings of trying for another child. I’m really glad DSF picked it up. Head on over and check it out!

New Story in “What Fates Impose” Anthology! Kickstarter Details and Prizes!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m doing my part to bring more diversity to the SFF genre. And what better way to do that than a new story!

I am excited to announce my short story, “There Are No Wrong Answers”, will be appearing in the What Fates Impose anthology, edited by my fellow Madisonianite Nayad Monroe.

Fortune-telling is a tricky endeavor. It’s the domain of an assortment of characters with various motives: charlatans looking to make a buck, true believers who may or may not have the gift, and powerful oracles who might be inclined to spin the truth for their own reasons. Which prophecies are true? Which are false? The powers of belief and wishful thinking drive the quest for a glimpse of the future–but is it a true vision? Whether the message comes from Tarot cards, tea leaves, entrails, or in my case, personality assessment, how are lives changed when predictions are made?

Nayad has gathered some awesome storytellers to peer into nature of fate. Here’s the full list of contributors:

Introduction by Alasdair Stuart: “Singing from the Book of Holy Jagger”

David Boop: “Dipping into the Pocket of Destiny”

Maurice Broaddus: “Read Me Up”

Jennifer Brozek: “A Card Given”

Amanda C. Davis: “The Scry Mirror”

Damien Walters Grintalis: “When the Lady Speaks”

Sarah Hans: “Charms”

Erika Holt: “Murder of Crows”

Keffy R.M. Kehrli: “Gazing into the Carnauba Wax Eyes of the Future”

Jamie Lackey: “Another Will Open”

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz: “Body of Truth”

Remy Nakamura: “Pick a Card”

Cat Rambo: “To Read the Sea”

Andrew Penn Romine: “Ain’t Much Different’n Rabbits”

Ken Scholes: “All Our Tangled Dreams in Disarray”

Lucy A. Snyder: “Abandonment Option”

Ferrett Steinmetz: “Black Swan Oracle”

Eric James Stone: “A Crash Course in Fate” (new) and “A Great Destiny” (reprint)

Tim Waggoner: “The Goggen”

Wendy N. Wagner: “Power Steering”

LaShawn M. Wanak: “There Are No Wrong Answers”

Beth Wodzinski: “One Tiny Misstep (In Bed)”

This anthology is being crowd-funded through Kickstarter. If it gets funded, we’ll get paid pro rates, and if goes beyond the funded goal, there’ll be more stories and artwork.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

Check out the backer’s rewards. Look on down to the $40 level, which is the Palmistry and Calligraphy level. That’s right, you’ll get a little somethin’ somethin’ from me! Pledge $40 or more and I’ll write up a 4 X 6 card from with your Myers/Briggs personality trait and its description in calligraphy. A picture sample is forthcoming.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S EVEN MORE!!!

If you pre-order the anthology before this Thursday, June 20, you will be eligible for a drawing to win prizes: artwork of tarot cards done by Nayad, a signed print of the anthology’s cover, a copy of the book with all our signatures. And as the Kickstarter meets its milestones, there will be even more prizes!

So go check out the Kickstarter, reserve your copy,  and spread the word! Every bit helps. All the answers you seek can be found within this anthology. And if it’s not the answer you’re looking for, well, at least you get some darn good stories.

Tell people about What Fates Impose on Twitter
Tell people about What Fates Impose on Facebook
Tell people about What Fates Impose on Google+

Edit: WE HAVE MADE OUR GOAL! Thanks to everyone who contributed! More details on the book will be out soon.

Review: Dark Faith: Invocations

Dark Faith: Invocations
Dark Faith: Invocations by Jerry Gordon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m in this so I’m a bit biased. I also have the first anthology.

I found this one less disturbing, though there are a few stories that made me put the book down and back slowly away (Lucy Snyder, I’m looking directly at you). Most of the stories had me thinking about the nature of faith.

The ones that stuck with me the most:

Subletting God’s head, Tom Piccirilli: a guy living in God’s head and being privy to His innermost thoughts. A part of me felt rubbed wrong by his portrayal of Jesus.

The Cancer Catechism by Jay Lake: I’ve followed Jay Lake as he tweeted about dealing with cancer and this is his most poignant,vulnerable, open, honest take on it. His experience with anesthesia is very much as I found it, disturbing and unsettling. His last line is so strong, it is worth the entire book alone.

Kill the Buddha, Elizabeth Twist – most surreal and sad

Night Train, Alma Alexander – lonely story about belief and trains.

The Sandfather, Richard Wright – this can be considered a sequel to his story “Sandboys” in the first anthology. I didn’t find this one as devastating, but it still stood out.

Sacrifice, Jennifer Pelland – a cool alt-choice story.

Thou art God, Tim Waggoner – Loved this take on “All is God and God is All” belief

Wishflowers, Tim Pratt – I just listened to his story “The Secret Beach” on Podcastle, and this could be considered a continuation of that tale, sort of. Like all Tim Pratt tales, this one socked me in the gut at the end.

Starter Kit, RJ Sullivan – Cute story about the universe as a kid’s aquarium. The apocalypse could really be God hitting the reset button & starting over.

God’s Dig, Kelly Eiro- A kid hears God telling her to dig, and she does. Oh, so disturbing. This was one of those stories that made me put the book down and slowly back away.

The Birth of Pegasus, K. Tempest Bradford – A retelling of Medusa and Poisiden. Loved the style of the story, and loved how it lead into the next story, which is…

All This Pure Light Leaking in, LaShawn M. Wanak – Okay, yes, this is mine. But I reeeeeeeally loved how they juxapositioned this after The Birth of Pegasus. And, it led very nicely into what I consider the “angel” section of the book. Plus, every time I read it, I think, man, I write the freakiest stuff…

Fin de Siecle, Gemma Files – Another angel story that’s more creepy.

The Angel Seems, Jeffrey Ford – Scary folktale, though the ending fell flat for me.

Magdala Amygdala, Lucy Snyder – Holy crap this was disturbing. Probably the most disturbing story in the entire book. How Snyder describes the brain sucking…I can’t even look at someone’s head now without thinking, “Brain jelly…” Oh…guh ::shudders::

In Blood and Song, Nisi Shawl & Michael Ehart – Cool story about how different people have their different gods.

Little Lies, Dear Leader, Kyle S. Johnson – While Madgala Amygdala was creepy, this one affected me the most because it’s so close to real life, it could easily have happened. My inlaws were in South Korea a year ago, so they were able to see the reactions to Kim Jong-il’s death. How all the tvs showed women weeping as if they were heartbroken. This was a hard read, but also necessary, I think.

I inhale the City, the City Exhales Me, Douglas F. Warrick – a great story to end the anthology, this was a nod to all the apocalyptic anime where a blob engulfs Tokyo. Reminded me a lot of Paranoid Agent. Also was a strong theme on stereotype and how we believe cultures are/should be.

As a whole, I really enjoyed this one. It’s more dark fantasy than horror, but I really liked the focus on all kinds of faith throughout the book. This gets five angels out of five…and if I want to see an angel, I’ll ask the right way…

View all my reviews

Story Calendar Price Drop! (or…ohai all you cracked.com visitors!)

So last night, I was checking the blog stats for the Cafe, and I was startled to see that blog hits over my normal amount. Turns out, Cracked.com has linked my blog post about the American Gods Gathering at the House of the Rock last year in their article “5 Halloween Parties Too Badass to be Real (that totally are)“. Our little gathering made the list at #3.

Well, dang.

I need to respond to that. And what better way to respond than to DROP THE PRICE OF MY STORY CALENDAR TO $2.99!

That’s right folks. You can get my short story/poetry collection “Into the Mist-Stained Woods: a Calendar of Tales” for the low, low price of $2.99. That’s the price of a decent app. A good cup of coffee. Portabella mushrooms on sale at your local grocery store. A danish. (Huh. This is what happens when you write a blog post before breakfast.) But it’s a good deal. And if you can’t buy, then spread the word. Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, you name it.

So click on the link above or the Paypal button in the right hand column. And enjoy!

Story Calendar is UP! Go Buy! Go Buy Now!

It’s done! My story calendar is done!

Mist Stained4 [Converted]

If you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, you know that yesterday was an absolute bear. I had the ebook ready, but getting PayPal to give me a button proved to be a nightmare. But I finally wrestled one out, and the story calendar is ready for purchase!

Click on the book cover above or if you look at the top of the screen, click on the menu item "Story Calendar Page".  Or heck, if you’re one of those people who are impatient, and you just got to have the calendar NOW NOW NOW NOW. Well, dang, click the "Buy Now" button on the sidebar to the right. I got you covered.

How much, you ask? Well, for this month, I am selling the story calendar for $10. That’s less than a dollar for each story/poem in the book. Now, the more astute among you may ask why so much when I can get an ordinary ebook for 99 cents?  Well, when I conceived the story calendar, I saw it more as a fundraising tool for my Viable Paradise trip, which will be NEXT WEEK! ::insert panicked breathing here:: So in essence, it’s me going around knocking on doors, saying, "Hey, I got a great opportunity to go to this awesome workshop. Will you buy this popcorn/chocolate/taffy apples/Girl Scout Cookies/rancid piece of beef to help fund me going?" The difference is I don’t come knocking on your door at an inconvenient time, and the story calendar will last much, much longer. (And chances are, if I show up at your door selling a rancid piece of beef, the chances of me selling that will be higher than me donning a Girl Scout uniform to sell cookies. And by the way, No.)

Ten bucks too much for you? No prob. The best way is to help me out is boost the signal. Tell your family. Tell your friends. See the buttons below this post? Stumble, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus the heck out of this page. The more people who know about this project, the more it will help me. And heck, tell them about the freebie story they can get. That’s right. I’ve made the January story free of charge. Just go to the story calendar page to check it out.

Thanks so much for sticking with me throughout this crazy ride of making my first ebook. It’s been a blast, and for those of you who encouraged me through the process, I really appreciated it. Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to take a well-earned nap. Then I got some packing to do. I hear if you don’t like what they serve for dinner, you have to forage in the wilds of Martha’s Vineyard with nothing but a butterknife.