Category Archives: writing career

My Meta-fictional Zombie Story, “Meat and Greet” is Free This Month at IGMS

My meta-fictional zombie story, “Meat and Greet,” originally published in Issue 43 of InterGalactic Medicine Show earlier this year is now available for free on IGMS’s site. This is the story that I sold on the basis of a reading I gave at the World Fantasy Convention last year. If you are interested in reading something of mine, go check it out.

The entire Issue 43 is currently free on the site, as are a few other odds and ends, including an interview I did with Ken Liu a few years back. You can find them all on the free issues page.

Issue 45 of IGMS is out and my story “Gemma Barrows Comes to Cooperstown” has the cover!

I am delighted to announce that Issue #45 of InterGalactic Medicine Show is out today, and that my story “Gemma Barrows Comes to Cooperstown” is the cover story for this issue. This is the first time any story of mine has been the cover story. What’s more, the amazing cover art for this issue was done by Eric Wilkerson, who as it happened, also did the cover for my favorite IGMS story, “Sojourn in Ephah” by Marina J. Lostetter.

As Edmund Schubert write in his editorial, this is my 4th story in the magazine, but my very first cover story. Edmund published my very first professional story way back in 2007, and I am so glad to have “Gemma Barrows” appear here.

STORY SALE: “Gemma Barrows Comes to Cooperstown” to InterGalactic Medicine Show

With the contracts signed, I am delighted to announce that my newest story, “Gemma Barrows Comes to Cooperstown” will be appearing in an upcoming issue of InterGalactic Medicine Show.

This is my second baseball science fiction story to appear in the magazine, and still the baseball stories are not out of my system yet. I’m not certain which issue it will be appearing in but I’ll post an update when I know.

I wanted to give special thanks to Juliette Wade, Bud Sparhawk, and Jay Werkheiser; they all provided excellent feedback that really helped make “Gemma Barrows” a much story.

NEW STORY: “Meat and Greet” is now available in InterGalactic Medicine Show, Issue 43

I have a new story in the latest issue of InterGalactic Medicine Show. “Meat and Greet” is short metafictional piece, and my only attempt at ever writing a zombie story. Those interested can head on over to IGMS to read the story. The stories in this issue will be freely available when the next issue comes out.

There are a couple of unique things about this particular story:

1. It marks my 10th professional piece of fiction, which is something of a milestone. Three of my stories have appeared in IGMS, including my very first one.

2. The story sale has a unique provenance: I gave a reading at the World Fantasy Convention here in the Washington, D.C. area back in November. I read two short stories. “Meat and Greet” was one of them. After the reading, Edmund Schubert, who edits IGMS, came up to me and grabbed the manuscript. 2 days later, he emailed me letting me know he was buying the story. So: first story sale from a reading.

3. Check out the amazing art work by Scott Altmann. Scott did great art for my story, “Big Al Shepard Plays Baseball on the Moon” and he did another fantastic job on the art for this story.

My New Column on Quantified Self at The Daily Beast

Yesterday, on Twitter, I promised some exciting writing news:

This morning, I am delighted to tell you that I have a new column at The Daily Beast which debuted early this morning. My column, currently biweekly centers around “quantified self.” For those not familiar with the term, think: FitBits, JawBones, food trackers, calorie counters, and all of the other ways that we track things about ourselves to learn and improve.

My first column, “How I Wrote 400K Words in a Year” focuses on how I’ve used data to improve as a writer, and offers tips for others who might want to do the same.

It was pretty cool waking up this morning to find my article featured on the Daily Beast‘s home page:

Daily Beast Home

This column marks another step in my writing career, an outlet for writing a column on how we can use data to improve, in front of what has to be the largest audience I’ve had thus far. I am grateful to Tessa Miller, my editor at The Daily Beast (and who I’d previously worked with over at LifeHacker) for giving me this opportunity, and providing helpful tips on my first article.

So, if you have some time today, head on over to The Daily Beast and check out my column. And by all means, let me know what you think.


Retiring From My Book Review Column at IGMS

I recently retired from my book review column, “The Science of Wonder” over at InterGalactic Medicine Show. I wrote a bimonthly book review column there and my column ran for roughly 2 years. It was a lot of fun, but the reading for the column became increasingly too much for me to handle given the other things I am working on.

I am grateful to Edmund Schubert for giving me the opportunity to write a science fiction book review column. It was a good experience and I hope that readers found the reviews useful.

I will almost certainly continue to review an occasional book here on the blog, but I think I am done with formal book reviews for the duration.

My Very First Story Now Has an Audio Edition

Back at the beginning of this year, IGMS: Big Book of SF Novelettes was released in paper and e-book. It contains a bunch of novelettes that appeared in the pages of InterGalactic Medicine Show and among the stories, is my very first published story, “When I Kissed the Learned Astronomer.”

That anthology recently received a stunning audiobook version courtesy of SkyBook Media. Last night, for the first time, I got to listen to a professional voice actor read one of my stories. The reading, done by Paul Boehmer, was amazing and I listened raptly to the story, as if coming to it for the first time.

The anthology (and audiobook) contain stories by Brad Torgersen, Mary Robinette Kowal, Aliette de Bodard, Eric James Stone, Orson Scott Card, and Marina J. Lostetter, among others. If you are interested in hearing what my story sounds like, you can grab a copy of the audiobook from Skybook, or Audible.

The paper and e-book versions of the anthology are available on Amazon.

Issue #37 of IGMS is out with My Story “Big Al Shepard Plays Baseball on the Moon”

In case you missed my announcement on Twitter yesterday, issue 37 of InterGalactic Medicine Show is now available. It contains my newest story, “Big Al Shepard Plays Baseball on the Moon.” For those who’ve been following my writing lately, this was the second story I wrote after finishing my novel draft back in September. It’s a baseball / Apollo moon mission alternate history. The amazing art for the story was done by Scott Altmann.

The issue looks really good. Here is the full table of contents for those who might be curious.

  • “Elsa’s Spheres” by Marina J. Lostetter1
  • “Underwater Restorations, Part 1” by Jeffrey A. Ballard
  • “High-Tech Fairies and the Pandora Perplexity” by Alex Shvartsman2
  • “Big Al Shepard Plays Baseball on the Moon” by Jamie Todd Rubin
  • “Seven Tips to Enjoy Your Time in the Unreal Forest” by Van Aaron Hughes
  • “Into the Desolation” by Catherine Wells

There’s also the usual great features, including an interview with my Launch Pad pal, Brenda Clough.

Go check out the magazine, and if you like what you read, consider subscribing.

  1. If you haven’t read Marina’s story, “Sojourn for Ephah” in issue 30, you should. It is amazing.
  2. This is the second time that Alex and I have been TOC-mates. We also shared the TOC in Beyond the Sun, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt.

Story Sale: “Big Al Shepard Plays Baseball on the Moon” to Appear in InterGalactic Medicine Show

Back in November, I mentioned that I had sold a new story. That story is titled “Big Al Shepard Plays Baseball on the Moon.” Today I am pleased to announce that the story will be appearing in InterGalactic Medicine Show. My understanding is that it will appear in the upcoming issue, schedule to come out later this month in the January 2014 issue of the magazine.

This is a milestone story for me in many respects, but perhaps most significant is the fact that I sold my very first story to IGMS back in 2007–almost 7 years ago to the day. It’s nice to finally have another story in the magazine, especially this story, which I had a blast writing, and which covers two subjects close to my heart: baseball, and the Apollo moon landings.

Edmund Schubert, editor of IGMS, also usually publishes a “story-behind-the-story” blog post about each story in the magazine. I’ll let you know when that is available as well.

There are a lot of great stories published in IGMS, stories by folks like Mary Robinette Kowal, Brad Torgersen, Alex Shvartsman, Ferrett Steinmetz, Ken Liu, and Alethea Kontis. If you like what you see there, consider subscribing to the magazine.

Keep an eye out for the January 2014 issue of IGMS in the next week or two.

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Upcoming Appearances, January and February 2014

Believe it or not, there are enough to list here and I suspect that the number will begin to increase steadily over time. Here are the January and February appearances that I know about so far.

January 22: World-Building Discussion at Arlington Writers Group

I will be part of a 3-person panel that includes my friend, and popular fantasy author Michael J. Sullivan at the Arlington Writer’s Group in Arlington, Virginia. The discussion starts at 7pm. Also on the panel is another group member, Lori Sullivan (no relation to Michael). I think the panel is going to be run like a science fiction convention panel. There will be a moderator who will lead the discussion, and probably lots of Q&A afterward. If you’d like to attend, you can find the full details here.

January 27-28: Seminar on Going Paperless (Private)

I’ve been invited to a divinity university in Kentucky to give a seminar on going paperless to a class of graduating Ph.D. students. That day-long seminar will take place on Monday, January 27. The following day, I’ll be giving an abbreviated version to faculty at the university. Both of these are private events, but this is also a new experience for me and I’m very excited about it. I’ve been preparing for it for a while, and if it goes well (and I hope that it will) it could be the start of something new for me.

February 1: Daily Science Fiction Book Launch Party hosted by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society

Daily Science Fiction is having a book launch party for their second volume of short fiction, Rocket Dragons Ignite, Daily Science Fiction Year Two. Several authors whose work has been published in Daily Science Fiction will be attending and reading their stories, and I am one of those attending and reading. Things get started at 7pm at the Baltimore Science Fiction Society clubhouse.

I should probably consider putting together an appearances page, but I’ve got too much on my plate at the moment.

How To Guarantee I Won’t Read Your Book

People, please don’t do this. I’ve been seeing more and more of it lately:

Book Plug

This is pretty much a guarantee that I won’t read your book. Especially when I see you spamming my friends with the exact same message. I have a documented policy on book reviews. But really, it’s just not polite to carpet bomb like this. If you are tempted to do something like this, if you are considering it, keep a few things in mind:

1. My time is really limited and I’ve had to hack more time out of my days with creative multitasking. Spam like this doesn’t make me want to slice out a piece of that ever-dwindling resource called time to look at your book.

2. I managed to read 54 books last year, a record for me. 12 of those books I read for my book review column at IGMS. The other 42 were books that had been on my to-read list for a long time, were books by friends, were books by acquaintances, and were books that I thought might challenge me. Spamming dozens of people with your title does not make me want to add your book to my growing list of stuff I want to read.

3. While I do review books for a magazine, I try to keep up with what is coming out so that I can coordinate my reviews with the release, or upcoming release of the book. Because I don’t like loose ends, and because I review 2 books per column, the slots fill up fast. (I already have book selected that take my through my July column.) I have a process for book reviews. Spamming me does not make me want to open up a slot for your book.

4. All the time I have to read and critique stories (which isn’t much, I assure you) is dedicated to a very small group of writer friends who read my stories in return and whose professional opinions on craft and the business I trust. I simply have no time to read and comment on stories by people I don’t know, especially those who spam me.

5. I was once an unpublished writer with no connections in the field whatsoever, and I know that it can be difficult to get your work noticed. What I’ve learned, is that hard work (write everyday, read a lot) and persistence (keep writing, keep submitting) pays off in the end, if you have a shred of talent as a writer. If not, well, it’s important to know what you are not good at. In the 14 years of writing and submitting before I was ever published, I think I asked one professional writer1 if they would look at a story of mine (something which fills me with horror, when I look back on it). It was very early in my efforts, within the first 6 months of getting started. And I never, ever spammed anyone. (Of course, the whole concept of “spamming” really didn’t exist when I was starting out.)

I realize that a post like this will not stem the tide of these types of requests, but putting up one of these reminders every now and then makes me feel better.

  1. Piers Anthony.

A New Reprint Anthology from InterGalactic Medicine Show (with a story by me!)

SF Novelettes

InterGalactic Medicine Show has just put out a new anthology entitled IGMS: Big Book of SF Novelettes containing reprints of stories that have appeared in the magazine. The anthology includes my very first published story, “When I Kissed the Learned Astronomer,” among other great stories. Here is the official book description:

Welcome to the surprisingly potent world of the novelette. Too long to be a short story, too short to be a novel: the award-winning magazine Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show (IGMS) has been an online haven for this powerful form of storytelling since 2005. Now the magazine’s editors have selected their all-time favorite science fiction novelettes and gathered them together in one Big Book of reading pleasure: IGMS: Big Book of SF Novelettes.

Anything that is remotely possible: Futures near and far, artificial intelligence and alien encounters, alternate time-lines and alternate theories about creating universes, planet-eating black holes and lunar race-tracks. It’s all here, under the big tent of Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show…

Featuring stories by award-winning authors including Orson Scott Card, Wayne Wightman, Aliette de Bodard, Eric James Stone, Mary Robinette Kowal, Stephen Kotowych, Jackie Gamber, Greg Siewert, Jamie Todd Rubin, Brad Torgersen, and Marina J. Lostetter.

It is very cool to see my story reprinted, but even better is the company with whom the story appears. The book’s cover is based on a fantastic piece of cover art by Howard Lyon for Mary Robinette Kowal’s story.

The e-book version of the book is available on Amazon today. A print edition of the book will be available through Amazon and other outlets beginning in January. If you are looking for some terrific science fiction novelettes, consider checking out this book.