Friday, August 22, 2008


Working on final edits (the final, final edits (finally)) of my novel, which are due to the publisher this Sunday. They also just sent me a form called the TITLE INFORMATION FORM. As I was filling it out, it occurred to me that a) I haven't posted on my blog in a long time, and b) this would be a really good way to 1)get double duty out of a bit of writing, and 2) tell folks a little bit more about my upcoming novel. So, since any good writer will get as many uses as possible out of a single piece of work, here, for your education and entertainment, is a portion of my TITLE INFORMATION FORM for Dreaming Creek...

1. (Internal use to be filled out by staff)

Publication Date:






Copy Editor:

Cover Artist:

Rating: (I don't know what this means, but it makes me nervous... (Edmund))

2. (This section is to be filled out by the author and then reviewed by the assigned editor once edits are underway.)

Book Info:

Title: Dreaming Creek

Author: Edmund R. Schubert

Pen Name to appear on cover (if desired):

Spelling preferred (CDN, US, UK): US

Author Info:

Website (if any):

Author Biography:

Edmund R. Schubert is the award-winning author of over thirty short stories, having been published in magazines and anthologies in the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain. In addition to writing, Schubert has held a range of editorial positions, including serving as fiction editor of the online magazine, Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show. An anthology of IGMS stories, co-edited by Schubert and Card, was published by Tor (August, 2008). Dreaming Creek (LBF Books, October 2008) is his first novel.


One of the most important things I have learned since I first began writing Dreaming Creek is that a novel is not created by one individual. The author may be the engine that drives the vehicle, but there are a lot of other parts, without whom there is no book.

My unending thanks for material aid and support in the writing of this book to:

Terry Schubert, Katrina and Alexa Schubert, L. McKenna Donovan, Alethea Kontis, James Maxey, Gray Rinehart, Ada Brown, Oliver Dale, Allen Moore, Cindy Hutchins, Dena Harris, Laine Cunningham, Rudy Clark, Tom Barker, Daniel Shirley, Marti & Duane Abbott, Craig Parent, Mike Griffin, Orson Scott Card, Dawn Mitchell, Jacqueline Druga-Marchetti, Carole Spencer & Jodi Lee

Back Cover Blurb:

(This should be a maximum of 150 words.)

High school teacher Danny Wakeman has spent sixteen years believing that his childhood friend, Marcus Gaines, saved his life after an accident. But Danny's perspective on the world gets turned inside-out when he and the woman he wants to marry, Sara McBride, drink from the mystical waters of Dreaming Creek, trade bodies, and get stuck that way...

Trapped in each others' bodies, struggling to fit in to each others' lives, Danny and Sara will have to pull together to overcome a perplexing lawsuit, a plot to defraud Danny out of his recently deceased parent's farm, and an attempted rape—all of which ultimately prove to bear Marcus's sinister fingerprints. And before it's over, Danny will discover that this pattern of treachery and violence goes all the way back to his supposed accident, which Marcus designed to cover up an even blacker secret...

Excerpt to be used for promo:

(This is a sample chapter or if the chapter is too long, then use a sample scene.)

Danny watched Sara wink as she said, “I’ve been wondering all day what this would be like. I was beginning to worry that your bladder had gone missing along with this finger.”

“Oh,” Danny said, finally understanding. “Have fun.”

As Sara walked toward the restroom, Danny watched his old body lumber across the room, wondering if he really moved that ungracefully, or if Sara just wasn’t used to moving around in his body. Normally she seemed to glide everywhere she went — not that normal was a word that could be applied to this situation. But he had always appreciated the effortless elegance of her movements before.

As soon as Sara went into the men’s room, a voice startled Danny from behind. It was their waiter, Karl.

“Miss, is everything all right?” he asked.

Danny noticed Karl used a much more casual tone than he had used earlier. “Yes,” he replied, puzzled. The food wasn’t even out yet. “Why?”

The waiter crouched down so he and Danny would be at the same level, gazing into his eyes and putting his fingertips on the back of Danny’s hand.

“Things seemed a bit tense between you and your…” the waiter glanced at Danny’s hand, looking pointedly where a ring would have been if Danny and Sara had been married, “…boyfriend. I wondered if I could be of assistance somehow. Help a beautiful lady in distress?”

“You’re kidding, right?” Danny yanked his hand out from beneath the waiter’s.

“Please,” Karl said, smiling innocently. “I meant no offense. I was only trying to help.”

“You were trying to help yourself to some free monkey business with someone else’s girlfriend,” said Danny. “What kind of creep are you?”

“I offer my aid and you insult me,” Karl said, snapping upright and resuming his waiter persona again. “If you’ll excuse me, I have other customers to attend to.”

Danny immediately wondered if he had misunderstood. The waiter seemed genuinely wounded, and he and Sara’s earlier game of one-upsmanship could have been misconstrued as having tones of hostility. Was he over-reacting?

After a few minutes he looked back across the room to see if he could spot the waiter, and instead noticed a familiar head — his own — poking cautiously out of the men’s room door. It was Sara, but whatever she was looking out for, she didn’t seem to find. She slipped through the door and walked as quickly as possible back to the table.

* * *

“That wasn’t any fun at all,” Sara said, sitting down heavily. She was starting to have second thoughts about this little body-swapping experiment.

“What does it mean when a guy puts his hand on yours?” Danny asked.

Sara looked at him and raised her eyebrows. “It usually means he’s interested.”


“In touching more than just your hand,” she said.

“Even if he knows you’re with someone else?”

Sara brought her hands together in front of her, making a steeple with her pinkies. “What happened here while I was away?” She already had a pretty good idea, but she wanted to hear it from Danny.

“Our waiter.”

Sara feigned shock. “Really?”

“Yes, really. It’s not funny. He all but offered to take me home with him.”

“What did you tell him?”

“What do you think I told him?” Danny said. “I called him a creep and told him to get lost.”

He was clearly getting annoyed, but Sara wasn’t sure if it was with the event or with her amusement about it. She decided to ease up on him. This was new territory for both of them.

“Did he?”

“What do you mean, did he? Of course he did. What kind of loser hits on a woman and won’t even back off when you tell him no?”

“There are all kinds of creeps out there,” Sara said matter-of-factly.

Clearly understanding what she meant, Danny said softly, “This has happened to you?”

Sara shrugged. “Not often. More than I’d prefer.”

“What do you do?”

Marcus immediately came to Sara’s mind. “I guess it depends on the situation.”

Danny said, “Well if it ever happens while I’m around, you let me know.” He made his tiny new hand into a fist. “I’ll take care of it.”

Sara paused, pondering the wisdom of stating her next thought aloud. She made it anyway.

“I did, once. You didn’t believe me.”

“When was that?” Danny’s eyes drifted up and to the right as he searched his memory. After a few seconds he said, “I don’t remember anything.”

Sara nodded. “Marcus’s cousin’s wedding.”

Danny perked up. “That? Oh, come on, Sara, I told you, it was a joke. He was kidding.”

“He groped me when I made the mistake of dancing with him. It was bad enough when he kept spinning me and brushing his hands across my breasts, but at the end he didn’t even try to be subtle, he just grabbed me.”

“Marcus is my best friend,” Danny said. “He wouldn’t do that except maybe, maybe, as a gag. Come on, he’s my oldest friend. He saved my life —”

“You know what,” Sara interrupted. “I talked with your dad about that right before he died. He said that everyone else’s memories are based on what Marcus said, and he sounded like he wasn’t so sure he believed it. I mean, come on. In the end, all we have is Marcus’s word for what happened.”

Danny’s little hands curled up into rock-hard fists around his silverware. “Marcus has looked out for me for as long as I’ve known him. Yeah, he teases me sometimes. He teases everybody, that’s just his way. But when the shit gets deep, he’s always been there for me.”

Sara leaned across the table. “And how many times was Marcus the one who pushed you into the shit in the first place?"

“You don’t know him like I do. What he’s been through,” Danny said.

“Actually, I think I know him better than you do. At least I’m not blinded by an event I can’t even remember.”

Danny stared with disbelief. “That was a long time ago.”

“Yes,” said Sara, crossing her arms. “It was.”

After that neither of them said another word, staring right through each other’s eyes when they bothered looking at each other at all.

When dinner arrived, they ate in silence, a silence that was made even more awkward by the invasive and inescapable din of forty other conversations taking place around them. The food the waiter served them could have been excellent or atrocious, they couldn’t tell, and the champagne sat open and untouched, going as flat as the evening.

* * *

When Karl finally brought the check, Sara gave him a credit card, and when he returned for the signature she discovered another thing that was a tremendous challenge to do when missing a finger: writing. The stub wasn’t big enough to hold the pen, but it was big enough to get in the way. She figured there had to be a way, Danny managed it all the time, but she had never really paid attention to him when he wrote. Why would she?

However, as much as she struggled forging Danny’s name, she also made a flamboyant show of writing a large zero in the space designated for their waiter’s tip.

“Excuse me, sir,” he said when she handed him the credit card slip. “I… I think you may have made an error here.” He pointed out the lack of gratuity.

“No,” said Sara, standing up. She straightened the collar of her shirt and said loudly enough for everyone around them to hear, “The error is yours if you think you’re going to hit on my girlfriend and get paid for it. Here’s your tip: keep your paws to yourself.”

Monday, August 11, 2008

Editor Loses Mind, Film at Eleven

The IGMS anthology came out last Tuesday and I've done a bunch of interviews with various folks to help promote the book. After you've done enough interviews you tend to get a little punchy. But just a little...

Penguin Man, Penguin Man...


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Dragonforge by James Maxey

One of the first stories I ever bought for InterGalactic Medicine Show was James Maxey’s “To Know All Things That Are In The Earth.” I liked it so much that I also included it in the IGMS anthology that just came out this week from Tor. James didn’t even submit that story to the magazine; I saw it while it was being workshopped and I knew right away that I wanted it. And his story “Silent As Dust” in issue seven is probably tied (in my mind) with Peter Beagle’s “We Never Talk About My Brother” as the best story we’ve ever published in IGMS. So to say that I’m a big fan of James Maxey’s writing is something of an understatement.

His first novel from Solaris (and second overall), Bitterwood, was a tightly written story about dragons and the man who hated and hunted them, and it turned out to be a highly intelligent science fiction premise wrapped up in a fantasy disguise. James has proven to me time and time again how intelligent he is and he applies all of his insights into his writing with with subtle consistency. It's not an in-your-face-look-at-me kind of intelligence; it's one of those things that just creeps up on you until you finally just have no choice but to be impressed. If I had any complaints with Bitterwood it was only that I thought the ending was a bit too abrupt after a long and methodical build up. But it’s a small complaint; overall the novel was one of the better ones I had read in quite a while.

Now the second novel of the Dragon Age, as James calls it, it set to be released. I was fortunate enough to get an advance copy when he and I were guests at ConCarolinas this year. I’ve been reading Dragonforge a bit slower than I would prefer, not because the book isn’t engaging, but because my wife recently had major reconstructive surgery on her shoulder and can’t use that arm for anything. So the maintenance of the entire household falls to me and I don’t have the luxury of losing myself in a book the way that I would prefer to. But twice a week she has physical therapy sessions and twice a week I get an hour to myself, sitting in the waiting room while the therapist tortures my wife. How I do look forward to those hours.

Dragonforge is, if anything, a better written, more thoroughly developed story that the first novel of the series. It has just enough references to the previous story that people who have not read it will have no trouble following along (in fact, I know that Orson Scott Card read them out of order and still enjoyed them very much), but the details are layered in in such a way that if you have read the first one, you don't feel like you're just seeing more of the same; there is so much that is new and creative and surprising, and I am enjoying it immensely.

I hate to have to admit it, but I say ‘enjoying’ in the present tense because I am not quite through with it; I still have a little over 100 pages to go. But I wanted to post this tonight, even though reviewing books before you’ve actually completed them can occasionally come back to haunt you. However, I wanted to post ASAP because a) I’ve read enough of James’ stories (long and short) to have complete faith in him as a writer, and because b) I just got an email from him letting me know that the book is officially being released this week and he’s having a signing/reading/party tomorrow night. In his own words:

“I'm doing my first official signing for Dragonforge this Thursday (August 7th) at 7pm at the Southpoint Mall Barnes and Noble in Durham, NC. I've been told there will be cake. I'll also have free Dragonforge buttons. I'll do a brief reading as well, but don't let that discourage you.”

So I thought I’d pass the word along, because anyone who is in the area should drop by. Miss this event and you’ll look back someday like someone who missed an early signing by George R.R. Martin and say, “If only I had know…”

Except now you do know, because you’ve read it here. Don’t make me come back in five years and say “I told you so.”

Sunday, August 03, 2008



Edmund asked me to write a little something about this story and how it came about. For me, stories come from a wacky and powerful collision of thought, emotion, experience and curiosity. And nearly always, they end up meaning something to me, revealing something about whatever I was processing at the time, and expressing that outward. There's an uncomfortable vulnerability in it that I liken to running around with my underwear on my head for all to see.

I wrote "The God-Voices of Settler's Rest" in January of 2007. It was the first short story I'd written after completing my first novel. In some ways, there was trepidation after so many words spent in the long-form. In other ways, it was like sliding into a comfortable pair of shoes.

Only something had changed. Maybe it was me. But the story unfolded differently, flowing out of the character of Mother Abigail Holton in scenes from both the beginning and end of a life spent in service in the Firsthome Temple. This one just felt different. So different that I didn't quite love it as one of my paper children right away. But now that I've spent some time with it, it's grown on me.

Because I understand voices.

While I was writing LAMENTATION, that first novel of mine, I had invented a new name for those internal voices that chew at us. I called them the Chattering Head Monkeys, or the CHM for short. Which of course, were differentiated from the so-called voice of my muse, Leroy. Of course, these voices are just me. I know that. No need for alarm. But it got me to thinking about the other voices we hear and listen for.

And then I wondered: What if the voices were real?

I saw a world -- a colony world in some far off future -- where somehow the ghost voices of a long vanished civilization called out to the settlers, initially with promises of home and love but later, through no fault of the hapless colonists, turned angry and raging. And what if only the women could hear these voices? And what if those voices -- like telepathic recordings that played in cycles over long stretches of time -- revealed lost secrets of that previous civilization to the eager Settler's Daughters, bent on learning about humanity's new home. Only the voices were so powerful that they felt divine in nature.

Wait a minute. That sounds familiar.

Rummaging around, I find an uncomfortable dose of memory from those long-ago days when I first experienced what I felt was a divine call to service as a minister and everything that it entailed. I flinch now when I remember burning my Dungeons and Dragons materials in the yard, selling off my science fiction and fantasy collection and tossing my love of writing aside at the age of seventeen based on the power of that perceived sense of calling.

I think these memories help keep me humble.

All told, I spent at least a decade pursuing those god-voices of my own and this story is really just a part of processing what that ten year island meant in the broader context of my life. A decade of voices. And then there's that question again, in the back of my mind, bending memory towards Story: What if those voices were real?

Because really, they were real at least to me, though like Mother Holton's voices, they were easily misunderstood and were not necessarily what they claimed to be on the surface.

One more ingredient for Story Soup.

And last, what about those other voices we're listening for with our radio telescopes? The ones from elsewhere in this great big universe we spin through?

Sometimes I think we're just sitting by the phone, waiting and hoping for it to ring. And not especially caring whose voice is on the other end of that line, be it divine or extraterrestrial, as long as someone, anyone, calls.

Why do we want it so bad? Are we curious or are we lonely...or both? Or neither? Maybe, like Mother Holton says, it's because we cannot bear to be alone in the universe. And maybe the answer is the same one she found at the end of her days, when she looked back over her life and what she'd learned along the way from how she'd lived it.

We're never alone if we have one another.

And when we learn that answer for ourselves, we'll treat each other better, I suspect.

But I digress. We're really talking about where stories come from. Particularly where this story came from.

Bring yourself unto your keyboard or your pen. Take all of these thoughts and blend them together. Shake them well. Stir them up. Sprinkle in lies enough to masquerade the truth and truth enough to make the lies seem honest. Pour through the fingers and let Story emerge.

And that's how "The God-Voices of Settler's Rest" was written.

I hope my underwear wasn't too frightening.


"The God-Voices of Settler's rest" by Ken Scholes is now available in issue 9 of IGMS.