Win An ARC! And, Guest Geeking

coming-soon-from-wwp-201x300[1]So, I think I’ve mentioned that I have a couple of new short stories in anthologies coming soon. If you’d like to be one of the super-special-awesome people who have it before it releases, you might want to jaunt over to editor Rhonda Parrish’s site and enter to win.

Mark, Alena, and Laura as characters from The Scarlet PimpernelIn other news, today I got to talk about cosplay as a Guest Geek on Michael G. Munz’s blog. No free books there, but it’s got pretty pictures, and you can learn about other geeks and his own books.

New Stories Coming!

In Poland in winter

Corvidae includes crows, ravens, jays, magpies,and more. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember that sneak peek a few posts back? I now have release dates to share!

Corvidae, an anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish (whom you may remember from Fae), will become available on July 7, 2015. Its sister anthology, Scarecrow, will go on sale August 4.

Though these two collections can stand independently and there’s a limited overlap of authors, these books are intended to function as a pair. My own stories, “Sanctuary” in Corvidae and “Judge and Jury” in Scarecrow, read as two short stories but form one continuous tale.

And here’s the official word: Continue reading

Route 66: Ruins and Ghost Towns

One of my favorite things about Route 66 is discovering relics of a previous age, America’s answer to ancient ruins.

Sally Sparrow: I love old things. They make me feel sad.
Kathy Nightingale: What’s good about sad?
Sally Sparrow: It’s happy for deep people.“Blink,” episode of Doctor Who, written by Steven Moffat

Route 66 is full of old things, and many of them are falling apart from decades of abandonment. Here’s a gallery of some of my favorite findings. Continue reading

Tyspwn or Ctesiphon

An 1864 photograph of the Taq-i Kisra. Note the figures standing atop the arch; we've always had stupid yahoos as tourists, I guess.

An 1864 photograph of the Taq-i Kisra. Note the figures standing atop the arch; we’ve always had stupid yahoos as tourists, I guess.

A drive problem is preventing more Route 66 updates — don’t worry, the photos aren’t lost, just presently inaccessible — so it’s background day here at the blog! Today we’re going to learn a tiny bit about the city where Saman, one of the Megistanes in So To Honor Him, resides — when he’s not traveling, that is.

The Megistanes, as you may recall from a previous post, were a hereditary priesthood serving four empires in succession. By Saman’s time, they were under the Parthians. Tyspwn, known better today by its latinized name Ctesiphon, was the capital city of the Parthian empire. Continue reading

Route 66: Texas

decrepit building with empty sign, surrounded by scraggly weeds and utterly forlorn

the Texas Longhorn Motel, or what’s left of it. “The First/Last Motel in Texas.”

Glenrio, as we saw on the eastern border of New Mexico, straddles the state line on an abandoned stretch of road. What shell is left of the Texas Longhorn Motel (“the First/Last Motel in Texas”) sits a few feet over the border, but there will be no guests.

Eastward, we come to Adrian, the geographical midpoint of Route 66 — probably depending on exact alignments, but who really cares to quibble? Adrian has 166 residents, per their sign, and I’m not going to begrudge them their midpoint status.

Midpoint sign for Route 66, Adrian, TXTSunflower Station, western giftshe gift shop and cafe across the street is adjoined by Sunflower Station, another boutique, where you can sign the pickup truck. We didn’t stop or take the time. That probably makes us Fake 66 Cruisers or something. Losers. Continue reading

Writer Brains and Research

Jules Verne, French science fiction writer of ...

Jules Verne, the godfather of plausible speculative fiction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Fantasy is even harder to write,” I alleged recently, “because you have to make the science work.”

If the science in a story isn’t plausible — whether you actually call it science, as in hard sci-fi, or whether it’s simply background dressing or setting, as in a romance set aboard a diving boat — the rest of the story won’t be plausible, either. In the romance above, for example, even if the story is supposedly just boy-meets-girl, if the couple blithely dives hundreds of meters without special equipment and resurfaces without ill effects, I’m not going to buy the happily-ever-after. Continue reading

Preview: Panic Attack

Panic-attack

Panic-attack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wanted to share an excerpt from a short story I sold a few months ago. This is taken from near the beginning:

He could not look away, could not move, could not speak . His chest was tight and his lungs constricted, and a distant part of his mind realized he was having a panic attack. Another fragment of rationality told him that was impossible, that he had no pulse to pound in his temples and no breath to catch. He was experiencing only what his subconscious thought he should, patterned by a lifetime of… life, when faced with a salient stimulus from a highly traumatic experience.

He swallowed against the pressure in his throat and drew a deep breath of what he knew wasn’t air. He closed his eyes and exhaled, counting to twenty. Then he opened his eyes again and faced his murderer.

No release date yet for the anthology, but I’ll let you know when I have one! Probably mid to late 2015.

Route 66: Remote 66

the Cuervo Cutoff, two dirt tracks running off into tall grass

East of Santa Rosa, NM

As the Route 66 series continues (and we have 5 states to go!), I thought I’d share a few thematic galleries of photos which might go together well but be lost in a state-centric post.

Today’s theme is the abandoned road. I’ve mentioned that we sought out many alternate alignments or discarded sections of old Route 66. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from those less-traveled segments! Continue reading

Route 66: New Mexico

Across the state line into New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment!

The first major city Route 66 reaches heading east is Gallup, immortalized in Bobby Troup’s obligatory Route 66 road song. The city sits close to the Hogback, a “ridge of upwardly tilted sedimentary rock” (The Place Names of New Mexico, by Robert Hixson Julya), and allegedly because of this geological constriction Gallup was a potential bomb target during the Cold War, as a single strike might have taken out railroad, pipeline, wired communications, and Route 66 all at once. Continue reading