Hey there. Just swinging by to let you know We Are All Thieves of Somebody’s Future—the forthcoming anthology that will have a neat little sci-fi story by me in it—is now available for preorders. Remember, this will be a limited print run, so if you want one of these beauties gracing your eyeballs and then your bookshelf, a preorder is a good way to ensure that happens. Future you circa May 1 will be delighted.
My story is called “Starlight Vigil,” and it’s a funky one in which time moves both ways as we follow the story of an engineer on a generation ship bound for the stars in search of a new home for humanity. I hope you check it out and it doesn’t completely baffle you like most of the people who read the first draft.
I’m just dropping by here quickly to record for whoever reads these things that I will have a short story in the upcoming anthology, We Are All Thieves of Somebody’s Future, from Air and Nothingness Press. Right now, it’s scheduled for a May 2024 launch, and I think there will be a limited number of copies printed and available only from the publisher, so be on the lookout for more to ensure you can get yours.
My story is called “Starlight Vigil,” and it has a special place in my heart because I was experimenting with time’s role in storytelling structure. If you’ve ever heard me get nerdy about fiction-writing craft, you might know I have a thing for nonlinear storytelling. It’s something of a faux pas and goes against the grain of conventional wisdom, but I don’t care. Extended flashbacks? Love them. Time dilation? Yes please. Chronology distortion? Uh huh.
In “Starlight Vigil,” I wanted to tell a simple story with a heart rooted in one heroic character’s sacrifice, and I wanted to present the story in such a way that we focus not on the fact that a character has died (not a spoiler; it’s the opening lines of the story), but why, the effect their life has on the others who continue, and the legacy their sacrifice creates.
My hope is that, because of the perspective and the presentation given to the events in this story through a nonlinear, multidirectional timeline, readers might see a tragic story through a lens of hope.
The non-nerdy description of my story is that a micrometeorite punches a hole in a generation ship carrying the last of humanity, and an engineer sacrifices herself to save the vessel—presented out of order and in reverse as well as forward.
Anyway, I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy of this anthology when it’s available, and I hope you enjoy my story as well as the pieces by the other authors. I’m eager to read them, myself.
Last night, I gathered with other members of the DC-Baltimore-area literary community at the Rockville Memorial Library to celebrate the winners, runners up, and honorable mentions of the 2023 F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival Short Story Contest. It was refreshingly wonderful and an all-too-rare reminder why I sit alone and confront blank pages.
Contest Judge Nate Brown said many inspiring and kind things, but one of the sentiments I know I’ll keep with me is the idea that, after everything, what matters most is the writer and the page. There is a lot of good in everything surrounding what writers do, and last night’s celebration was a testament to that. Nate also spoke about the baggage of doing this writing thing, such as all of the rejection many of us face. Most important, though, is that we keep sitting down with the pages.
I like that idea because it so often feels like success in writing is entirely beyond our control, but doing the work is something we can absolutely control. Yes, writers are people, and every person has much to contend with (jobs, families, relationships, illnesses, disabilities, etc.), but because we have control over whether we sit down and write, it’s something we can lose without accountability. It’s easy to do it tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
But if we do it today and today and today, success—however we define it—comes.
This today, I’m riding a high and feeling good because, last night, alongside some very impressive and brilliant writers whom I was grateful to meet, my story, “A Winter Bloom,” was recognized as the contest winner.
This story is precious to me, there’s a hefty amount of prestige and history associated with this festival, and it’s in my hometown. It feels like something of an alignment, pieces of a puzzle finding their right place.
I’ll be attending a ceremony on Oct. 12 where I and the other winners, finalists, and honorable mentions will be reading from our pieces. Having read the other stories, I’m humbled mine is in such great company, and I’m eager to meet everyone involved with this year’s contest.
My sincere gratitude to everyone who gave this story their time, energy, and consideration. I’m deeply honored this story found others who thought something about it was worthwhile.
Read “A Winter Bloom” here, and read the other pieces and judge commentary here. If you’re in the area, consider attending the festival on October 21. You can register in advance here.
I have a short story out today in the new issue of Haven Speculative. Please give it a read if you’re inclined to do such things. It has an apocalyptic ruin, robots, and a man with life-creating power and a heap of good intentions. Let’s see what he does with it.
Bringing to an end this long drought of new stories in print and plentiful rejections, I have two new shorts out this summer. One is the previously mentioned “I Am Emergent,” a story about two computer scientists, their life’s work in artificial intelligence, and the lengths to which we’re willing to go to save someone we love. This one is out now in the anthology WHAT REMAINS from Inked In Gray Publishing, which you can find here.
The most recent one is a story I’m particularly fond of. “The Only Memorial You Can Ever Have” appears in vol. VIII of Deracine Magazine. It is one that I set out to challenge myself with in every conceivable way. From perspective to tense to narrative voice to narrative distance to character perception and beyond, virtually everything in this story is something I’ve never even attempted before. And after everything, I think it works, and it moves me powerfully. I hope you check it out and agree.
Of note, I think, is that I don’t think “The Only Memorial You Can Ever Have” would have come out of me if not for the MFA program I’m currently in. We often talk about the value of MFA programs, and I think, in those conversations, they’re viewed as whether they’re necessary or whether they produce writers of greater caliber. After two years in one, I think that’s the wrong way to look at MFA programs.
The value of my MFA program, to me, is in this story. It provided me the environment to experiment and take risks. It offered the support structure that held me up when I took those wobbling steps. If I hadn’t pursued an MFA, I’m confident this story wouldn’t exist, because I wouldn’t have pushed myself in ways I needed to push myself for this one to come out.
That isn’t to say I think MFA programs make better writers, that they’re always good, or that they’re even necessary. It’s just to say this is a story that came out of my MFA program that I’m proud of and demonstrates how my writing has grown, broadened, and evolved.
Thanks to both Inked in Gray and Deracine. I hope you check them out.
It’s been a while since I’ve had anything in print, but very soon, I’m going to have a story in the upcoming anthology from Inked in Gray Press. Recently (yesterday), they unveiled the cover and opened the Kickstarter and preordering.
You should check this one out. It’s going to be a cool book, yes, but I like what Inked in Gray is doing. They understand the future of publishing is in community, and they work really hard to build that through the celebration of stories. There’s a purity in what they’re doing, I think, and I’m excited to be a part of it. Any of you fellow writers out there would do well to follow them on social media and submit some writing in the future.
Also, my story, “I Am Emergent,” is one that I’m very fond of. It’s about two scientists working on an artificial intelligence named Vic and the lengths we’ll go to prove to ourselves we’re the hero in our individual stories. This one is about the dark side of love, what we would sacrifice in its service.
I hope you contribute to the Kickstarter, preorder, or check it out when it’s available. I’ll let you know when it is.
Time for some good news. My story, “The Story of Jessie and Me,” has been accepted for Crystal Lake Publishing‘s anthology Tales From the Lake, Vol. 4.
I’m thrilled! Crystal Lake is doing great things, and it’s a family I’ve wanted to be a part of for a while.
I’m passionate about this story and this anthology. Go check out the previous volumes if you haven’t, and check this one out later this year. They also have a fantastic library of horror novels to choose from.
A couple weeks ago, in my summer update, I wrote about how 2016 hadn’t really panned out the way I’d hoped. It hasn’t been a bad year at all. In fact, production-wise, I feel like I’ve written some of the best fiction of my life. And while I haven’t had much to announce this year, some of that production is paying off.
I’m thrilled to announce Gamut, a new literary magazine, has accepted a short story of mine. I can’t stress the previous sentence’s verb enough.
An acceptance from any market is a great thing. It’s acknowledgement for hard work and dedication, not to mention passion for a piece. It says you did something right, but more than that, it says someone else believes in the story as much as you do. And now the story has an avenue to reach other readers.
But contributing to Gamut is a whole different accomplishment. Not only is Gamut an amazing project (and I’ll get to that in a moment) that is the brainchild of some people I hold in high regard, but it’s also a professional market.