To my surprise, several people have asked if I intend to blog about what I’ve had published in 2016. Well, alrighty then, since a few of you asked …
Diamond Jim and the Dinosaurs– This novelette (3rd in the series) appeared in the April issue of Analog. Not only am I rather fond of it, but I’m also totally in love with the Bob Eggleton dinosaur cover on the magazine.
Not With A Bang-My first time travel story featuring Marty and Julianna was reprinted in the anthology Time Travel Tales.
Dino Mate – The sequel to Not With a Bang was reprinted in Ctrl Alt Delight.
Zombie Limbo Master – My sole zombie story was reprinted in Quickfic Anthology 1.
Our Right, Our Duty, Our Privilege was the March Analog guest editorial.
On the Money: Scientist of Inventor Wanted – This guest editorial appeared in the November issue of Analog.
All in all, this hasn’t been a bad year by any means. In fact, it’s been a better year for me than this list might lead one to suppose. The reason I say this has to do with several things I’ve written that will be unveiled next year.
Hey, my zombie story is in a new 99 cent anthology of 44 short-shorts. These short-shorts (no, not the ones women wear) are just the thing to read while standing in line or sitting in a waiting room or taking public transportation. Hope you’ll try ’em on … er … give them a read. The folks who put out the Quickfic 1 Anthology stuffed it with terrific SF, fantasy, and horror.
Can limbo dancing save you from the zombie apocalypse? Find out for free by reading my short story, The Zombie Limbo Master. It’s available at Digital Fiction Pub. There are a lot of other neat horror, fantasy and SF stories put out by this new publisher. Give ’em a shot.
I’ve returned from Sasquan, the World Science Fiction Convention thinking about the fact that in two of the three short fiction categories, no Hugos were awarded this year. Nor were Hugos given out to editors of long or short works. While there are reasons for this turn of events, which are discussed at great length elsewhere, I find that there is another troublesome development, even setting aside the political and social divisions running through the science fiction community. Namely, even in more tranquil years, short stories, novelettes, and novellas do not get the love—meaning readers, publicity, and money—that they merit. As a writer of short fiction, I’ve even had intelligent people who love good books out-and-out say with a sniff that they don’t read short stories. While I do share their love of sinking into a wondrous novel, it saddens me that these readers are missing out on so much.
They are missing out on two wonderful things. First, a writer can take risks in short fiction that might crash and burn at novel length. Some fascinating ideas and set-ups are perfectly-suited, even stunning when embodied in short stories but couldn’t be sustained at novel length. (Naturally, the trick for the writer is to discern which ones are which.) The ideas that coalesced into my second-person account of limbo dancing during the zombie apocalypse would have collapsed at a longer length.
The second reason to read short fiction is to discover some terrific new writers whose imagination, attitudes, and unique voices will bring you pleasure for years before these writers get their first novel published. With a minimal investment of time and money, you can try out new writers and unfamiliar magazines. What with so many people bemoaning their lack of time for reading, I want to point out that you can download and read short stories on your smart phone while standing in line at the grocery store or the DMV or while commuting via mass transit. It’s never been easier.
Oh and while you’re at it, make a note of the shorter works that bowled you over with their goodness. Anybody can take part in the selection of the Locus awards, Anlab ballot, and a number of other awards. If you have some selections already picked out, doing so will be a breeze.
The Zombie Limbo Master is online at http://www.bastionmag.com/
Check out my take on our feared nemesis. And while you’re there, have a look at the second issue of this fine, new science fiction magazine. Lastly, my special thanks go to all the D&D’ers of George’s World (and George), for making these zombies inevitable.
Hey folks, remember when I talked about reading my zombie story to a live audience? So, the good news is that soon you’ll all be able to read that zombie story. It’ll be published in the May edition of Bastion Science Fiction. This is such a promising new electronic magazine. Do check it out. http://www.bastionmag.com/
Also, I gotta say that when I wrote it, I really had my doubts as to whether there would be a market for it. Good thing that didn’t deter me from finishing it. You just never know. Sometimes you gotta write what moves you and not let your assumptions about marketability hold you back.
A couple of days ago I read a new story to a small audience of people who’ve devoured a lot of science fiction and fantasy. This was a story I’d only just written earlier in the month. I hadn’t shown it to anyone before, other than my husband, so I didn’t know how it might go over. Also, it was the first time I’d ever written about zombies, and I wasn’t sure how that would go either. You see, I generally stay away from zombie fiction, and I try to avoid zombie movies because I find that these works usually succeed too well at frightening me right up until they reach their downer endings. But it had been suggested to me that I write a story with a specific title — a title containing the word “zombie.” I accepted the challenge.
I’ve always loved going to authors’ readings — hearing where the author puts the emphasis, seeing how other audience members react to various lines, and simply being a part of an oral story-telling tradition that probably goes back to the days when humans first learned to speak. Well, my own reading reminded me not only how much I like reading my work out loud, but what a valuable experience it can be for a writer. I’d thrown some things into the story that I wasn’t sure about, and now I know which ones I ought to keep. More importantly, I got to watch people fall into the story, and to gage how quickly that happened and whether it succeeded in holding their interest. My reading also told me how well the ending worked.
So for any would-be writers who read my blog, here’s a piece of advice. Try reading your work to a group of friends, relatives, or whomever. It’s best to keep your reading relatively short. You may be surprised at how useful the feedback is in showing you what’s working and what isn’t. Sure, you could ask people what they thought, but a live reading is a more immediate and honest gage. Give it a shot!