Friday, June 29, 2007

IGMS Issue 5 is Now Available

Table of Contents:

We Never Talk About My Brother
by Peter S. Beagle

Beauty's Folly
by Eugie Foster

Under Janey's Garden
by Margit Elland Schmitt

by Jason Sanford

When I Kissed the Learned Astronomer
by Jamie Todd Rubin

The Polka Man
by William John Watkins

Original Audrey
by Tammy Brown


From the Ender Saga: The Gold Bug
by Orson Scott Card

InterGalactic Interview with Peter S. Beagle
by Edmund R. Schubert

Who Is Snape?
by Orson Scott Card

Tales for the Young and Unafraid
by David Lubar

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Worth a Thousand Words

...getting dropped off at the north end of the Skyline Drive, near Front Royal, Virginia.

The long and winding road...

The view...

By day three I'd finished all 105 miles of the Skyline Drive and was on the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you look closely you'll notice that the smile on my face is not quite as large as the one from the first day...

Top of the world, ma...

I don't have any pictures from my campsites along the way, but the first night I camped out a park ranger came along and told me to make sure I hoisted my gear - and especially my food - up into a tree because they had just chased four black bears out of the other end of the campground where I was staying (and one of them was toting a recently killed fawn in its mouth). And the next night I got rained on, so I gave up on taking pictures of my campsites.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

OSC's Writing Essay

Having been out of town for the past ten days, you can imagine the pile of catching up I have to attend to. So I'll bore you with the details of my trip a little later. In the meantime, I wanted to direct your attention to an essay written by OSC. Since I've taken over here as editor of IGMS I've been posting essays by the authors of the stories we publish about the creation of those stories. I'm pleased to say that we'll also be including those kinds of essays in the anthology Tor is publishing next year. Well, as OSC was writing each of the essays to accompany his four stories in the antho, I guess he got into the spirit of the thing because he wrote a great essay about the creation of the Ender story we recently posted to issue four. It can be found in the magazine.

How One Story Can Give Birth to Another

The essay can be accessed for free, whether or not you've bought that issue. If you want to read the story and you've already bought issue four you can simply log in with the same password you already have. If not, individual issues are only $2.50, or you can buy gift subscriptions for multiple issues at a nice discount and use them to access any issue of your choice (past present, or future issues; you can even skip over issues if you want to, you're not locked in like with other magazines).

Happy reading.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Time To Hit The Road

I'm driving up to Maryland in a few hours to scope out the town of Cumberland while my wife interviews there for a job. She's the one with the full-time corporate gig that comes with such trivial things like medical and dental benefits and a 401(k). She got laid off about six months ago and it turns out we need those things after all. What are the odds?

This is her fifth interview with this company (three by phone and second in person), so it seems logical at this point for me to go with her and check out the area. On the way home she's going going to drop me and my bicycle off in Front Royal VA (the beginning of the Skyline Drive). I'll cycle the length of the Skyline Drive, part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and stop off at my parent's house near Bedford VA for a few days. I've already spent the past few days here (at my parent's house) helping out here because of some medical problems my dad is having and I promised them I'd stop off again on my way south. I'll be back in Bedford next Saturday or Sunday and will stay a few more days. I'll post an update then.

And for God's sake, if you see someone pedaling along the road for all they are worth, don't honk at them from behind. I'm begging you; it freaks us out.

P.S. Issue five is coming together nicely; mainly waiting on some of the artwork. Should be ready to go around the end of this month.

Friday, June 15, 2007

What The HECK Was That?

I'm not even sure I can do justice to the surreality (is that a word) of the experience I had this morning, but I'm going to give it a try. After all, I spent twenty minutes in the car with a friend and fifty times we must have said some variation of "That was just bizarre..."

Let me back this tale up and start somewhere near the beginning. My friend Dena and I are asked from time to time to speak to writing classes. It's mostly high schools and community colleges and such, and more often than not the one who's been invited will ask if it would be all right to bring the other. We have a good rapport and find it's more effective (and entertaining for the students) to play back and forth than to try to fill an hour or two by ourselves. We also have different areas of expertise and between us cover the full range of writing-related activities pretty well.

So it was no great surprise when I got an e-mail from Dena a few weeks ago saying that somebody at a community college near where she lives got her contact info and asked if she could come talk to a class, and was I free to go with her. What was a surprise, however, was that when we got there (about five minutes late; it took longer to get there than we expected)), the students were taking a test.

A test? Aren't tests usually scheduled in advance? Study chapters three and four because there's going to be a test on Friday...?

But Dena and I had been invited to talk for the full two hours. And when we walked into the room the instructor had this odd, Oh-you're-here tone in her greeting. As if she were mildly surprised to see us. She sounded like we had arrived an hour late, not five minutes.

The next thing I noticed was the big sign at the front of the room proclaiming this to be a class on public speaking. Public speaking? I just joined a group several months ago to to improve my own public speaking skills and suddenly I'm standing in front of 30 college kids who are expecting me to talk knowledgeably about that subject?

So Dena and I wing it as best we were able. Truthfully, I was the one who was winging it. It's not my area and I'll be the first to admit that. But Dena has lectured on the subject before and is even working on a book about public speaking, so she smoothly shifts gears and does a fine job of tying public speaking in with communications in general (largely, I think, so I could contribute something to the conversation). And overall it's going pretty smoothly. But within fifteen minutes or so the instructor starts inching closer and closer to Dena sending out this okay-it's-time-for-you-to-go-now vibe.

What else was there to do but wrap up and go? Which we did, saying the whole way back to Dena's house, "What the heck just happened here?"

I understand that miscommunication happens sometimes, but what we were lead to expect and what we were actually asked to deliver were as far apart as could possibly have been imagined. And I wouldn't have minded so much - it is good to get out of the house every now and then - if I hadn't had to drive so far for the privilege of having my time wasted. Between the drive to and from Dena's house and the drive to and from the college, I must have spent at least two and half hours in a car. That's time I could have spend rejecting people's stories... (which is why I won't be reading any IGMS stories today; I make it a point not to read when I'm in a bad mood).

It was just bizarre.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Antho Delivered, Reading and Riding Again

Much of the rest of Life got put on hold while assembling the final pieces of the IGMS anthology, but it's now been delivered to Tor and there's nothing left to do but wait the interminable wait until the book is on the shelves. We haven't been given a publication date yet, but I suspect it won't be before next Spring.

In the mean time it's back to reading again. And riding. Someone asked me at ConCarolinas if I was still training for my bike tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway. 22 miles yesterday; 24 miles the day before that; didn't ride on Sunday, but Saturday I did 35 (that took about two hours). I'm also back into the stories, reading things for the second and, in a few cases, third time. I've got around sixty stories still on my desk and am looking to fill about 15 spots (at the most). I plan to have that knocked out by the end of June/first week of July.

Issue five is getting the finishing touches and should be released sometime during the last week of June. A couple more weeks at most.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

IGMS Anthology From Tor

It's officially official: the contracts are in from Tor and Vol. 1 of Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show is being assembled. All four of Scott's 'Ender Universe' stories will be in this anthology, as will tales from approximately a dozen other authors. These are all tales that originally appeared in issues one through four of the on-line version of the magazine, but I wouldn't quite call it a "Best of" anthology; more like a sampler. All four issues of the magazine are represented (roughly) equally and as I selected the stories I also did my best to keep a balanced proportion of SF and Fantasy.

The list of stories is still being finalized (there are one or two tales/authors that are on the fence), and the artists are being notified, too. Artists? Oh yes: each illustration that accompanied the story in the on-line version of IGMS will also be included in the book, as will the graphic novel (fancy way of saying 'comic book') version of OSC's story, "Fat Farm." In addition to being a pleasure to read, it's going to be a gorgeous book to look at.

I feel like a kid on the 22nd of December: I can't wait for the big day to get here. Well, it's more like being a kid on the 22nd of August; it's going to be a little while before Santa brings us any goodies. We have to behave a little longer. I actually don't have the release date yet, but as soon as I do you can be sure I'll tell you about it here first.

Monday, June 04, 2007

ConCarolinas Report

Charlotte, NC - ConCarolinas is a nice, small con. The guest list was a little bit light, so I ended up doing a lot of panels (five in a row at one point on Saturday). Not that I minded: that's why I go to these things. To see people, to meet peple, to talk to people; fans and writers alike. Plus, one of my favorite people in the world, Alethea Kontis, was there too and we hung out all weekend, including staying up way to late Saturday night watching the Geek Comedy Tour (very funnny bunch of young comedians who performed from 10:30 until almost midnight), and then staying for the Rocky Horror Picture Show afterwards. It was well after 2 a.m. before we finally called it a night.

Alethea and I also hung out quite a bit with friend James Maxey. James is an immensely talented writer whose second novel, Bitterwood, is coming out from Solaris Books next month. It's a novel full of dragons, but with a great twist (which I decline to ruin for you here; you'll just have to buy the book when it comes out). Unfortunately James had another commitment Saturday evening, so he missed out on the late-night lunacy.

I also had the good fortune to sit on several panels with GOH Barbara Hambly, who is a gracious, knowledgeable writer and I learned a lot by just sitting next to her and listening. I also enjoyed meeting Robert Buettner, who was a Special Guest at the con. I have to confess that I was not familiar with his work before, but he was kind enough to give a copy of his award-winning military SF novel, Orphange. I promise all of you that I won't read it until I'm caught up again on the IGMS submissions, but it will go at the top of my pile for when I'm done.

One particulary fun thing about this con was the wedding they held. It was actually listed on the program as a panel; two people who met at last year's ConCarolina tied the knot at this years con. They were a slightly older couple, dressed up in Renaissance attire, and the whole thing was terribly sweet. Sadly, I was on a panel at the time (about interesting ways to destroy the world - it was the tail end of my marathon session), so I only got to see a little bit of the actual event. But what a fun concept.

There were lots of other folks there (apologies to everyone else whose name I didn't drop), and a good time was had by all.

I had to cancel my trip to Nashville TN for Hypericon (June 15 - 17) for personal reasons, so my next con won't be until TrinocCon in Raleigh, NC (Aug. 3 - 5). I can't speak for the rest of you, but this news makes my wife and children very happy.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

IGMS's Tim Pratt One in A Million

The storySouth 2007 Million Writers Award for Fiction

As many of you know, storySouth (, presents a list each year of what it considers to be the best short stories published on-line. A handful of preliminary judges pick the Notable Stories of the Year, and then the senior editors pick what they consider to be the top ten stories of the year. I was pleased when four stories published in 2006 in InterGalactic Medicine Show were named to the list of Notable Stories, so you can imagine my thoughts when I learned that Tim Pratt’s “Dream Engine” (the cover story for issue three), was named one of the top ten.

The entire list is as follows (yes, I put Tim’s at the top where it belongs (not that I’m biased)):

•"Dream Engine" by Tim Pratt (Intergalactic Medicine Show)

•"A Letter from Home" by E. C. Osondu (Agni)

•"Spectral Evidence" by Gemma Files (ChiZine)

•"Urchins, While Swimming" by Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesword Magazine)

•"13 Halloweens" by Michael K. White (The Deepening)

•"All the Way to Grangeville" by A. Ray Norsworthy (Eclectica Magazine)

•"Burning Bush" by E.P.Chiew (In Posse Review)

•"Vertically Divided, Blue-Red-White" by Mark MacNamara (Southern Gothic Online)

•"Spinning Out" by Jamie Barras (Strange Horizons)

•"The Infinite Monkey Theorem" by Marshall Moore (Word Riot)

You may now proceed directly to storySouth's website to vote for Tim's story...

Friday, June 01, 2007


I'm going to be in Chalotte NC this weekend for ConCarolinas. I won't be there Friday evening, but the organizers made up for it by booking me hard the rest of the con, especially Saturday. I've got:

Quick Write - 11 am

Getting Started As Writer - 12 noon (Magnolia Room)

Creating Believable Dialog - 1pm (Magnolia)

What Drives Editors Crazy - 2 pm (Magnolia)

How To Destroy The World - 3 pm (Azalea)

Sci -Fi Whose Line Is It Anyway - 5 pm (Main Salon)

The first three panels are all in the same room, so I'm going to stake my claim to a comfy chair and sit there for three hours. Alethea Kontis, dear girl, is going to be there too (we're even on the 2 pm panel together) and she has volunteered to bring me food during my marathon. And Sunday's schedule is much the same.

Publishing In All It's Forms - 11 am (Magnolia)

Sometime Shorter Is Better - 12 noon (Magnolia)

Writer's Roound Table - 1 pm (Main Salon)

etc. etc.

See what I mean about location of my panels? I own the Magnolia Room. All kiding aside, I'm sure it will be a fun weekend and I'm looking forward to it. GOH is Barbara Hambly. Stop by if you're in the neighborhood. I really do enjoy meeting and talking with fans (and writers) of SF and fantasy.