Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Issue Six / DragonCon

As I'm getting ready to go down to Atlanta for DragonCon this Labor Day weekend, it occurred to me that I should go ahead an announce the line-up for issue six of IGMS, which is in the final stages of production. The seven stories are:

"The Night of Falling Stars," by Steven Savile
"The Towering Monarch of His Mighty Race," by Cat Rambo
"A Spear Through The Heart," by Cherith Baldry
"How Peacefully The Desert Sleeps," By Brad Beaulieu
"Great Mother, Great Father," by Will Briggs
"In The Beginning Nothing Lasts," by Mike Strahan
"The Price of Love," by Alan Schoolcraft

So that you know, "The Price of Love" is a 16,000 word novella that will be published in two parts. Part two will appear in issue seven. Issue six will have a cover date of October, 2007, but should be on-line some time during the last week of September. It will also include two new stories by David Lubar, as well as a new Ender Universe story by our own Orson Scott Card, who just got home from teaching his annual Literary Boot Camp.

As for DragonCon, I'll leave for Atlanta as soon as I can on Friday. I'm in the final stages of editing a business book and that needs to be done before I can leave. My first panel (something about editing SF) isn't until 7pm Friday night, so I could leave here as late as noon and still get there in time (it's about a 6 hour drive from Greensboro, NC). The pocket program is available now on the DragonCon website, if you want to check it out and plan your days.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Apex Digest Halloween Short Fiction Contest

So now I'm a "celebrity judge." Kind of fun - it's for Apex Digest's annual Halloween Contest. If you're not familiar with them, Apex Digest is a print magazine that publishes dark/grim/creepy science fiction (think "Aliens" and that sort of thing). My fellow celebrity judges on this project are Cherie Priest and Jennifer Pelland. I'm looking forward to working with them.

Third Annual Apex Digest Halloween Short Fiction Contest
The Essentials:

* Theme: Post-Apocalypse
* Deadline: October 15th, 11:59 p.m. EST
* Word Count: 2,500 words or less
* Submission Address:
* Entry Fee: Free!

First Prize:
$100, plus Winning story published in Apex Digest issue thirteen and an invite to the Apex 2008 featured writers' anthology. One year subscription to Apex Digest. Signed hardcover copies of Aegris Somnia, HebrewPunk, Temple: Incarnations, and Grim Trixter

(not too shabby for a contest with no entry fee)

Full contest details at:

Apex announcement of judges:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Little Trouble Dying

Every now and then I take leave of my senses and post a piece of my own fiction here at SideShow Freaks. Seems only fair; if I'm going to assess and judge and poke at others' stories, you all should occasionally get to poke at mine.

The following is the opening to a story that I think I am about to abandon. I like the opening very much, but every thing else I write after it doesn't work the way I want it to, which is why I think it's time to lay this piece to rest. But as I said, I do like the opening, so here it is. Poke it as you see fit...

A Little Trouble Dying

Waiting for the last contaminants of the plague to pass, I had sat in my underground shelter, surrounded by 55-gallon drums of distilled water and mountains of canned vegetables with peeling paper labels. I scribbled the days and weeks on the wall with a piece of chalk like a prisoner marking time in solitary.

And that, I frequently thought during those miserable years, was exactly what I was. A prisoner. Except I hadn’t been forced into my underground shelter by the state for crimes against society; I had gone down there alone, voluntarily, to escape death.

If only I had known quite how thoroughly I would accomplish my goal…

You see, until yesterday I hadn’t laid eyes on another living being in two-hundred-fourteen years, six months, and three days.

I was having a little trouble dying.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, and no, I’m not crazy. I may have become a little obsessed with counting things, but you try spending 3,264 days alone in an underground shelter – no matter how well-stocked it is with books, games, CDs and DVDs - and see if you don’t come out obsessed with something.

And I think it’s important you know I never intended to go into that shelter alone. Despite being told repeatedly what a paranoid fool I was for building the shelter in the first place, I was a social person, quick with a joke and even quicker to laugh at the jokes of others. I loved being around people.

But when I told my co-workers at the lab I thought the N6HV3 virus was about to explode across the planet, none of them grasped the urgency of the situation. And when I told family and friends the same thing, I got the same response.

Reduced from logic to cajoling, then pleading, I finally had no choice but to go into the shelter alone.

Six weeks later they were all pounding on the double-paned, bullet proof window next to the entrance, their eyes bleeding and their flesh flaking from their bodies in great gray chunks. By then letting anyone in, even my sister and her infant daughter, was no longer an option. All that was left to do was talk – and sometimes cry – along with them through the intercom until they died on my doorstep.

I hated every one of them for making me watch them die like that. Hated them with a passion.

A lot of people died on my doorstep. That’s when the counting started; I counted family and friends as they died a few hermetically sealed inches away. I could feel myself age with the passing of each one.

Several centuries later, I’m still in the habit of counting things - but I haven’t aged since.

And I only hate them a little…

Friday, August 10, 2007


From TrinocCon last weekend.

George R. R. Martin and gnome (George is the one with the hat and beard. Oh wait...)


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

TrinocCon Report

Well, short report because I was only there for one day. It was a small con with a big Guest of Honor (George R.R. Martin). My first panel of the day was with the GoH, but I didn't know it until he walked into the room. Suddenly this voice in the back of my head was saying, "So that's why this room filled up fifteen minutes before the panel started..."

A group of us - James Maxey, Althea Kontis, Gray Rinehart, Alex Wilson, Ada Brown, and I - had great fun during the lunch break. We spent in inordinate amount of time playing with a grumpy, foot-tall, cast iron garden gnome Alethea brought from Tennessee and a Chicken Dance Elmo that Ada brought. There are photographs - some suitable for public viewing, some not. I'll have to review them closely and get back to you.

Dinner was more of the same, except that we added Stephen Mark Rainey, Alexandra Sokoloff and a few other folks to the madness. By the end of dinner we had the gnome dressed up in a black napkin and wielding a butter knife menacingly, dubbing him Obi-Wan-KenGnombi.

Rumor has it there were other panels and reading s and such, but the gnome wouldn't let me go. I told you he's grumpy cuss...

(BTW, for those of you who don't know the lunatics named above, James Maxey's second novel Bitterwood is out now and receiving fantastic reviews; Alethea Kontis is a book buyer for Ingram and author of several books of her own including the new Dark Hunter Companion with Sherrilyn Kenyon; Gray is the new slushmaster for Baen books, Alex and Ada have published short fiction in such venues as Asimov's and IGMS; Mark Rainey is the author of too many horror novels to count and former editor of the magazine Deathrealm; and Ms. Sokoloff is a former screenwriter turned novelist whose books are published by St. Martins. So yes, the people appearing on panels and talking to you so seriously about panel-stuff are out in public playing with gnomes and Elmo dolls, and no, there was absolutely no alcohol involved. You should see them when there's booze. On the other hand, maybe you shouldn't...)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

TrinocCon 8 - Raleigh, NC

Con time. It's been a few months, so it's time to head out again. This weekend is TrinocCon (, at the North Raleigh Hilton in Raleigh, NC. I've got some other commitments this weekend, so I can only be there Saturday, but I'll be there all day.

11am panel on Heroes and Villains; 1pm panel Religion and Spirituality in SF. That last one should be a lively affair. Lots of friends coming to this one, so only having two panels just leaves more time for catching up with folks.

George R.R. Martin is the Guest of Honor and I'm very much looking forward to him. I know he's best known as a fantasist, but his horror novel Fevre Dream, about vampires on the Mississippi River in the mid-19th century, is one of my all time favorites.