"Doorways" (part 1) now up at Tales to Terrify podcast

Doorways coverMy SF novelette, "Doorways," is being presented in podcast form on episode #434 of the excellent Tales to Terrify site. "Doorways" first appeared in Postscripts Magazine from PS Publishing in the UK in 2008. It was a finalist for the Aurora Award the following year.

Because it's a long story, over 10,000 words, TtT is presenting it in two parts. Part 1 is up now, and part 2 will be going up in a couple of weeks. Dan Gurzynski provides the narration, and I think he does a fantastic job. "Doorways" starts at about the 12:00 minute mark of the episode. I hope you'll check out part 1, and return to listen to part 2 when it gets posted.

The Story:

Dr. Lucius Rainer, head of research at GenTech, is dead. But to Jack, it seems that his old mentor still lives on through his house. Certainly, Rainer's strange island retreat exudes the personality of its late owner: isolated and eccentric, brooding and uninviting.

But when GenTech learns that the house holds a working model of Rainer's final project, Jack discovers that the house shares one other trait with its former owner.


The house will open only to Jack's biometrics, and will only allow two very specific people to accompany him: Wendy, Jack's now ex-wife, and Deak Sanderson, Wendy's new lover and Jack's former rival at GenTech. As the three of them explore the house and its secrets, Jack discovers that some doors—in this house and in life—should never be opened.

Select reviews:

"A couple months ago I was introduced to Douglas Smith by way of his collected short stories, Impossibilia. So I was looking forward to his story 'Doorways' and was not disappointed. ... This story has a cunningly satisfying conclusion. I find a good short story falls into two categories: There is the complete story, the novel miniaturised, which is a nearly perfect art form. These are hard to capture but constantly illustrated by such writers as Douglas Smith." —SF Crowsnest Book Reviews

"…is based on an interesting concept … The puzzles [in the story] and the final invention that they hint at are intriguing … Smith ties [the story's] denouement's metaphorical significance in well with the technological concept at the centre of the plot." —The Fix

Playing the Short Game: Free online workshop #2

Short Game coverYou can still attend the last two of my free online workshops on how to market and sell short fiction, based on my Playing the Short Game writer's guide. The workshops are sponsored by the Newmarket Public Library and the Writers' Community of York Region (WCYR). You can still register online for the remaining two workshops, which will take place on the next two Tuesday evenings: April 28 and May 5.

This past Tuesday, workshop #1 covered rights and licensing for short fiction, how to build a strategy for marketing your short fiction, finding markets, picking the best market to start with, and how to submit (and how not to submit). See below for what the next two will cover.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 7-9pm EDTPlaying the Short Game #2: You Sold a Story! Contracts, Editing, & Reality

This workshop takes a writer from when they learn an editor wants to buy their story to after it's published and the reviews start coming. Topics include:

  • Understanding how editors and slush piles work
  • Why editors choose or reject stories
  • What to look (and look out) for in short fiction contracts, and how to ask for changes
  • How to work with an editor during the editing process for your story
  • How to handle rejections and reviews
  • How much promotion is reasonable when you sell a story
  • Cool things that might happen: Awards, best of anthologies,…and even movies

Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 7-9pm EDT Playing the Short Game #3: How to Make Your Short Fiction Work for You

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

Again, you need to register online with the library.

Playing the Short Game online workshop series

Short Game coverI'll be giving three free online workshops on how to market and sell short fiction, based on my Playing the Short Game writer's guide, sponsored by the Newmarket Public Library and the Writers' Community of York Region (WCYR). You need to register online for the workshops, which will take place on three consecutive Tuesday evenings: April 21, April 28, and May 5.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 7-9pm EDTPlaying the Short Game #1: How to Market & Sell Short Fiction

This workshop will give you critical advice on how to sell your short stories to professional markets and to build a career as a short fiction writer. Topics covered include:

  • Rights and licensing for short fiction
  • A strategy for selecting your target markets
  • Finding short fiction markets
  • Selecting the right market
  • Submitting short fiction to a market
  • What not to do when submitting
  • What to do after submitting

Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 7-9pm EDTPlaying the Short Game #2: You Sold a Story! Contracts, Editing, & Reality

This workshop takes a writer from when they learn an editor wants to buy their story to after it's published and the reviews start coming. Topics include:

Chat and Spin interview link now available

I was on Chat and Spin Radio in the UK on Thursday April 16, talking about my writing. The short interview (ten minutes, maybe) is now up and available here, starting at exactly the 35:00 minute mark. Enjoy!

Chat and Spin Radio interview

I'll be on Chat and Spin Radio today, April 16, at 1:40pm Toronto time (EDT) talking about my writing. Tune in if you're around then.

Free online podcasts of my stories

I've pulled together a list of selected audio / podcast versions of my stories that have been produced over the years and that are still available online. There are currently six stories narrations available, with two more coming soon. I've recently sold my urban fantasy tale, "Out of the Light," to The No Sleep Podcast, and my SF mathematics revenge tale (no, really), "Doorways," to Tales to Terrify. Enjoy!

Listen to "Enlightenment" on StarShipSofa podcast

Starshipsofa logoStarShipSofa, the science fction podcast, recently posted its production of their audio version of my Aurora Award-finalist novelette, "Enlightenment." In it, we return to the world of Scream, RIP Force, and the Merged Corporate Entity from my Aurora Award-winner, "Scream Angel."

I originally wrote "Enlightenment" in response to an invitation from Andy Cox, publisher of TTA Press in the UK. Andy had just acquired the venerable UK science fiction magazine, InterZone, from its long-time publisher and editor, David Pringle, and was soliciting stories for his inaugural IZissue.

I'd had the pleasure of selling stories to Andy's dark fantasy magazine, The Third Alternative (now Black Static), so I was thrilled when he invited me to submit and even more thrilled when he bought the story.

The narration of "Enlightenment" on StarShipSofa is by Drew Mallory, and he does a fantastic job. You can listen here. The story starts at about the 7:25 mark of the podcast. It's a novelette and over an hour in narration, running to the 1:08:35 mark, so get comfortable, grab a drink and a snack, and settle in for a listen.

Even better, why don't you buy a copy of the ebook of "Enlightenment" at my new online store or at your favourite retailer and read along? Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy the story.

Checkout my new online store!

The Heroka BundleI have just launched a new online store where you can buy my books directly from me. Woo hoo! Please check it out and let me know what you think.

I'm offering ebook editions of all my books, but also signed, personalized print copies of my full-length titles. Scroll down through the titles, or use the filters at the top to narrow your search (science fiction, fantasy, collections, print, ebooks, etc.)

You can also get these discounts:

  • 15% off if you use the "Share" button to share any title on social media
  • 15% off if you refer a friend (and they'll receive 15% off, too)
  • Discounts for select combinations (e.g., buy one of my collections, get the other for 20% off)

And if you become one of my mailing list subscribers, you'll receive a 25% discount on ALL titles all the time.

Ebooks can be downloaded directly, but you'll also receive a BookFunnel link, which will step you through how to get your ebook onto your reader.

Special offer: Pictured above is The Heroka ebook bundle: all three Heroka shorts plus the novel, The Wolf at the End of the World. This bundle is available only at my store and for a discounted price of $6.99. Plus you can apply your discounts.

Note: You can still shop at my other bookstore, where you buy directly from the retailer of your choice in your own country, including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Indigo, and many many more.

Bulgarian SF anthology from The Human Library

Bulgarian SF anthologyThis post is on behalf of a Bulgarian writer / translator / editor friend, Kalin Nenov. I first met Kalin in 2011 when he reached out to me on behalf of The Human Library Foundation, a Bulgarian small press, with an interest to publish my Aurora Award-winning novelette, "Scream Angel" in their FantAstika 2010-2011 Almanac.

FantAstika is an annual 400-page publication defined by its creators as "a territory of humaneness, for the same reason that we have named our foundation The Human Library. We believe that SF is the tool best suited to reflect the ever-changing humane aspect: to winnow the transient from the eternal in Homo Sapiens. Therefore, we publish speculative fiction of all kinds and by all peoples, as long as it is looking for humaneness."

The Human Library is a community of Bulgarian writers, translators and artists. Since 2005, one of their main activities has been translating Bulgarian speculative fiction into other languages and promoting it around the world. Recently, they compiled an anthology with the best short stories and excerpts from longer works. Most of the stories have already been published in professional magazines, such as Oceans of the Mind, Unstuck, and Future Science Fiction Digest. Here's more info on the antho, including the table of contents.

Now the members of the Human Library are looking for a publisher or an agent who will be interested in representing the anthology. If you can point them to any—or can recommend any promoters of international SF they should get in touch with—drop them a line at poslednorog [at] gmail [dot] com.

And if you'd like to read the manuscript of the anthology, they'll be happy to share it with you. As Kalin says, "In such times, we need bridges across the world—and to the future—more than ever."

A project to help authors orphaned by the ChiZine scandal

Thomas Mann quoteUnless you're a professional speculative fiction writer, you are likely unaware of the scandal that erupted recently around Canadian small press publisher, ChiZine Publications. If you'd like to fully understand the abuse that interns, staff, and CZP authors have had to endure over a number of years, you can read all the nauseating details here on the Writers Beware blog. It's a disturbing read.

The relevant point for my post here is the "mass exodus from CZP, with authors requesting rights reversions for their books..."

That exodus and the requests for reversion of rights (meaning the rights to publish the book are returned to the author from the publisher) means that a large number of CZP authors now have orphaned titles: their books don't have a publisher. This includes titles that were published in the past as well as books still to be published.

I'm a former CZP author myself (Chimerascope) and am sickened by all of this. I wanted to find a way to help these authors. I can do nothing about the yet-to-be published titles, but I had an idea to help authors who had books in the CZP backlist (previously published).

I reached out to Jason Chen, who runs StoryBundle and who I've had the pleasure to deal with multiple times in recent years, to ask him if he'd be willing to run an ebook bundle in support of ChiZine authors who've had their CZP titles orphaned. As I expected, Jason replied that he would be glad to.

The bundle would feature previously published titles from CZP authors. All monies from this project will go to the authors. Nothing will go to ChiZine.

I will curate the bundle and donate my curator fee to the author payment pool. I've been in or curated about eight bundles in the past and can attest that a StoryBundle is a great project for an author to participate in. Hopefully, if there is enough interest by authors and the first bundle sells well, we could do multiple bundles.

How you can help:

  • Spread the word: I've contacted many of the CZP authors but not all of them, as I only have contact info for a handful. It would be great if you could point any CZP authors you know to this post. Any interested author can contact me directly here
  • Promotion: Once the bundle comes out, I'll post about it here. Please help me promote the bundle to your family and friends, and on social media. No idea on timing, as authors first need to revert rights and create their own ebook editions as they will not legally be able to use the CZP ebook editions.

Thanks for listening and anything you can do to boost the signal on this.


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