Have Ship, Will Travel anthology sale

Have Ship, Will Travel anthology coverMy SF first-contact story, "Symphony," will be appearing in the upcoming space opera anthology, Have Ship, Will Travel, coming out in January from Stories Rule Press in Canada. It's a reprint, but I got a special kick out of this one.

If you're one of my newsletter subscribers, you would've received "Symphony" as your monthly ebook story back in March of this year. If you're not on my list, you can subscribe here (and get a free ebook for signing up).

And if you want to check out the excellent bunch of stories in this very large antho (over 400 pages), you can pre-order it here from your favourite retailer (note: an Amazon link will be added soon).

So what was that special kick I got? Check out the cover on the right. I'm one of the two "featured authors" at the top along with the multi-award-winning author and editor, Kristine Katherine Rusch. I've attended ever so many craft workshops given by Kris. This is my first (and likely last time) being billed ahead of her. Kris's story opens the antho and mine closes it. Very cool.


Playing the Short Game: Library workshop series in 2022

Playing the Short Game coverI'll be giving a series of three workshops in early 2022 via Zoom covering my writer's guide, Playing the Short Game: How to Market & Sell Short Fiction. The workshops are free and sponsored by the Richmond Hill Public Library of York Region and will be offered the first Thursday evening of March, April, and May (Mar 3, Apr 7, and May 5) from 7:30-9:00pm.

Topics covered in workshop #1 (March 3, 2022) include:

  • The benefits of writing short fiction
  • Avoiding traps for the beginner
  • Understanding rights and licensing for short fiction
  • Finding short fiction markets
  • Selecting the right market for your story
  • Submitting short fiction to a market
  • What not to do when submitting
  • What to do after submitting

If you're interested, go here to register ahead of time. Note that you'll be registering for all the Jan-Mar workshops offered by the library. They're all free, and you don't need to attend any other workshop (but you're welcome to).

Registration links for workshops #2 and #3 are not yet available, but I'll post here when they are. I look forward to seeing you there.

Another "new" story sale

Pulp Literature, issue #12 coverI posted earlier about recently selling a brand new short story that I'd written at the start of the pandemic. Well, I sold another "new" story in November, but it's one that I wrote much earlier than 2020. As in much, much earlier.

This sale is a first for me in a couple of ways. One, it's not a genre story. "The Balance" is mainstream. It's also not a "new" story.

I wrote this one almost two decades ago, in 2002. It's a very personal story, inspired by events surrounding the birth of our second son and the time he spent in hospital having far too many operations in his first few weeks of life.

Although I kept submitting it to markets all those years, I'd come to believe it was too personal to ever sell. So I was extremely happy when the excellent Canadian multi-genre magazine, Pulp Literature, accepted it. This will be my second appearance in PL. The cover from my earlier appearance is pictured

I'll post here when the issue with "The Balance" is published and available.

Short fiction seminar for Canadian Authors Association

This Thursday, April 29 at 7:00-8:30pm, I will be giving a webinar on marketing and selling short fiction, jointly sponsored by the Canadian Authors Association and SF Canada.

Drawing from my writer's guide, PLAYING THE SHORT GAME: HOW TO MARKET & SELL SHORT FICTION, I'll cover rights and licensing, finding short fiction markets, a strategy for selecting markets, submission advice, key contract clauses, and leveraging second rights for such things like reprints, foreign language rights, audio markets, and publishing a collection.

This webinar is free due to COVID-19’s impact on the writing community, but space is limited to the first 100 attendees. You can register for free here. Hope you'll be able to join me.


Webinar June 18: How to make your short fiction work for you

I'll be giving an online workshop on June 18, 7-9 pm, as part of the Writer's Community of York Region ongoing webinar program. The workshop is the third in my series based on my writer's guide, Playing the Short Game: How to Market & Sell Short Fiction.

This workshop focuses on the phase in a short story writer’s career when they’ve established themselves and have built up a backlist of published short fiction. It will explain the many ways a successful short fiction writer can leverage their own inventory of published stories, as well as other aspects of an established short fiction writer’s life. Topics include:

  • Leveraging your backlist
  • Selling reprints
  • Selling in foreign languages
  • Selling audio rights
  • Publishing a collection
  • The indie option for short fiction
  • Discoverability tools and promotion for established writers
  • Career progression in short fiction

Tickets are free, but space is limited. Pre-registration ends June 16, 2020. Please register here. Hope to see you online!


"Doorways" part 2 now up at Tales to Terrify podcast site

I wrote earlier about my SF novelette, "Doorways," being narrated at the excellent podcast site, Tales to Terrify. Because "Doorways" is over 10,000 word, Tales spread it over two back-to-back episodes.

Part 1 went up last week and is available here. Every episode of Tales to Terrify is a lot of fun, so I'd suggest you just start at the beginning. But if you want to jump to "Doorways," it starts about the 12:00 minute mark.

Tales has now posted Part 2 here. Again, their episodes are very entertaining, but if you want to jump ahead, the concluding part of "Dooways" starts at the 13:20 mark.



Aurora bundle spotlight: Strange Bedfellows

Strange Bedfellows coverHere is the seventh in my interview series for the current Aurora Award ebook bundle available at Storybundle (but only for two more days!). Today, we talk to Hayden Trenholm, publisher of Bundoran Press and the editor for the anthology Strange Bedfellows.

What is your strongest memory from editing this anthology / assembling this collection?

Although I had previously edited an anthology for Bundoran Press, this was the first one I did after assuming ownership, and it was important to me to do something special. Politics and science fiction essentially define my life so putting them together was a natural.

What I remember best is the flood of really great stories we got from around the world from both well-established and novice writers. When it came to the final selection process, I had enough good stories to fill two anthologies, and it was an agonizing process to slowly weed them down to final selection.

As it was, I went more than 10000 words over my intended length, and to this day, there are several stories that didn’t make the final cut the I still think about and wish I could have included.

Is there something in these stories that you consider to be particularly Canadian or that Canadians would relate to or recognize in terms of sensibilities, world view, societal beliefs, etc.?

In the end, there were only two stories written by Canadians in the anthology (with 7 other nationalities represented), but I still think the anthology was quite Canadian in its values. There was wide representation of political views though nothing from the extreme left or right. There was a gender balance between men and women plus stories from writers who identify elsewise as well as diversity of race and religions.

In this sense the anthology strived toward inclusivity—just as Canada itself strives toward inclusivity and opportunity for all. Whether it succeeds is for the readers to judge.

What music would be the ideal listening soundtrack for readers for this book?

Obviously a collection of world music—maybe one of the ones put together for Real World Records by (politically driven) Peter Gabriel.


Thanks, Hayden. People, if you're a fan of speculative fiction and want to pick up ten award winners and finalists for a bargain price, grab this bundle now. And I mean now. There are only two days left before this deal is gone forever.

Aurora bundle spotlight: Napier's Bones

Napier's Bones coverNext up in my interview series on the current (but over soon!) Aurora Award bundle from Storybundle is Derryl Murphy, author of Napier's Bones. It's great urban fantasy with a dose of mathematics and history, and it's a lot of fun. I had the honour to be a beta reader for Derryl on an early draft and was thrilled to see it come out from the excellent Toronto press, Chizine Publications. And even more thrilled when it was a finalist for the Aurora.

Besides Napier's Bones, Derryl is also the author of the ecological science fiction collections Wasps at the Speed of Sound and Over the Darkened Landscape. He's been a finalist for the Aurora Award four times. Here's his interview. 

What's your favourite relationship between two characters in this book and why?

Between Dom and Billy, because of the mystery that lies between and within them, and because of how much they are forced to share by their proximity with each other. Being forced to think about how they would respond to each other within that framework was fun for me.

What's your favourite scene in this book and why?

The visit to the Ballachuan Hazelwood, by far. I was lucky enough to visit Scotland and England to research for Napier's Bones, some of it in libraries and some in real locations. This was on Seil Island, after crossing the "Bridge Over the Atlantic," a very old stone bridge barely wide enough to handle the odd tour bus. The wood itself was an absolute delight, and I suspect very few people go there, or even know it exists. Most tourists cross the bridge, take a picture, then head back.

I could also, however, name the scene in the church that takes place directly afterward. It is a real church, and while a took liberties with a mathematical concept in that scene, it was good fun to write.

Is there something in this book that you consider to be particularly Canadian or that Canadians would relate to or recognize in terms of sensibilities, world view, societal beliefs, etc.?

Dropping Dom and Jenna into Edmonton and using the peculiarities of that city's streets was most fun for me, and so of course I've never heard anyone mention it.

What's your strongest memory about writing this book?

On the flight back home from Scotland in 2003, hammering away at a tiny keyboard hooked up to my Palm Pilot, I managed something like 10K words of the beginning of a very rough first draft.


Wow. A Palm Pilot. That takes me back. I had a Palm, too, and a Targus keyboard that folded up into the size of a deck of cards. It was a surprisingly usable little setup but I don't think I ever did 10,000 words at a sitting with it. Anyway, thanks for the interview, Derryl.

The Aurora Award ebook bundle is still available, but not for long. Only four more days, so go grab some of the best of Canadian speculative fiction at an incredible price.

Aurora bundle spotlight: Martyrs

Martyrs coverNext up in my spotlight interview series on the current Aurora Award ebook bundle is Edo van Belkom talking about his horror novel, Martyrs, which was a finalist for the Aurora when it came out. Edo is a two-time Aurora winner and has also won the prestigious Bram Stoker Award. Here are his thoughts on Martyrs.

Who is your favourite character in this book and why?

I'd have to say the hero, Karl Desbiens. He's got a bunch of problems to overcome like his crisis of faith and, of course, the evil force trying to wipe him out.

What's your favourite relationship between two characters in this book and why?

The bond between Karl Desbiens and Father Dionne is a good one. Having gone to high school with priests as my teachers, I wanted to make the two more like real people with everyday problems, not just the big one driving the novel forward.

What was the toughest scene to write in this book and why?

The toughest thing about writing this book was just making it believable. Classic horror in which evil forces are unleashed upon the Earth wasn't normally my thing, so I wanted to make the fantastic bits seem as real as I could make them. Contrary to what people might think, it's not easy convincing a reader that a possessed entity can still be alive and menacing with a caved-in skull.

What's your favourite scene in this book and why?

I think it's the ending. I've always found that with classic horror like this the story usually falls apart when the cause or the reason for the evil's existence has to be explained. I think I've walked that tightrope fairly well and set up an ending that is hopefully unexpected, plausible and satisfying.

Is there something in this book that you consider to be particularly Canadian or that Canadians would relate to or recognize in terms of sensibilities, world view, societal beliefs, etc.?

Well, the location and setting is absolutely Canadian. When I was in elementary school we traveled to the Jesuit settlement at Ste-Marie-Among-the-Hurons and were told how brave the priests were when their faith was challenged by the natives. Years later you grow up and start thinking for yourself, and you question why the Jesuits just couldn't co-exist and accept the natives as they were instead of trying to convert them to their own religion and ideology. Maybe in those terms it's more Canadian than just being set in Canada.

What was your biggest surprise in writing this book?

I think it was how the ending seemed to come together so seamlessly. I usually outline everything I write so there are no real surprises, but the last few chapters were satisfying in that I didn't have to shoehorn anything in to make it all work. Everything along the way had contributed just what it was supposed to and it was enjoyable to just sew all the loose ends together.


Thanks, Edo. I hope everyone following me will check out the Aurora Award bundle up at Storybundle now. But it won't be there long. The bundle ends August 9. Don't miss your chance to pick ten great Canadian speculative fiction books at a bargain price.


Aurora bundle spotlight: Second Contacts

Second Contacts coverHere's the next in my spotlight interviews on the authors, editors, and books in the current Aurora Award ebook bundle from Storybundle. Today's interview is with Mike Rimar of Bundoran Press talking about the Aurora winning anthology, Second Contacts.

Here are three questions and Mike's answers:

What is your strongest memory from editing this anthology / assembling this collection?

Second Contacts was the first anthology I edited. The theme was, First Contact has been made and the aliens have gone, but now they've come back some 25 years later. And…go…

It was a good theme, one that hasn't been explored too often, but I was concerned that we would get a whole bunch of Independence Day-like submissions where the aliens return seeking vengeance. Incredibly, and to my pleasure, we didn't get one like that. At least I don't remember reading one. What we did get was a diverse collection of amazing stories from around the world, taking our theme into all sorts of fantastic directions.

Is there something in these stories that you consider to be particularly Canadian or that Canadians would relate to or recognize in terms of sensibilities, world view, societal beliefs, etc.?

Speaking for myself, that's difficult to answer. Most of our anthology stories are written by Canadian authors. Canadian writers express a curious dichotomy of society and solitude; of technological progress, but mindful of environmental impacts; of justice and sacrifice but not at the cost of culture. While not distinctly Canadian, these themes are more prevalent in Canadian society because our nation is so culturally diverse. We're far from perfect. Mistakes have been made and more will be made. But we try to be a better people and that is reflected in these stories.

What music would be the ideal listening soundtrack for readers for this book?

Tragically Hip Discography.

The Hip. Of course. How quintessentially Canadian. Thanks, Mike, for the answers. Pick up the Aurora Award ebook bundle here to get Second Contacts and nine other titles, all award winners or finalists, for a great deal. The bundle runs only to August 9.

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