Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"The Victor" - My story in "Not Our Kind"

The Kickstarter for the "Not Our Kind" anthology is in its home stretch, with only about four and a half days left as I write this post. It stands a bit over 60% funded at this point and since Kickstarter is all or nothing (a project either meets its funding goal and gets funded or does not meet it and gets nothing -- the backers are not charged anything either in that case), I'll be watching it closely over the next few days hoping for the best.

My story which is slated to be in the anthology is called "The Victor." I wrote the first draft of this story just a little less than a year ago, while I was in Philadelphia for the 2013 Philcon. The Liberty Hall Writers website has a weekly prompted writing contest for its members. The prompt that weekend showed fireworks in the sky over a road and my mind went to an image of a lone man walking on that road under those fireworks. He had won a battle, single combat, but the cost of that victory was something quite unusual and the rest of his life would never be the same.

When editor Nayad Monroe invited me to submit to the Not Our Kind anthology I knew right away that "The Victor" was the story I wanted to send for her consideration. I took the story through some revisions and sent it off, quite close to the last minute of her submission window for the invited authors. I was thrilled when she accepted the story for the anthology and I'm looking forward to hearing what readers think of the story.

But for that to happen, the Kickstarter needs to succeed. So if you're interested in reading my story as well as stories by the other Not Our Kind authors (Alex Bledsoe, Ekaterina Sedia, Lucy A. Snyder, Tim Waggoner, Damien Angelica Walters, and many others) then now is the time to stop by Kickstarter and back the project.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Recent News: Mid-October 2014

I've had two stories published in the past month:
I've also recently had two stories accepted for publication, both of which should be coming out in November. "Final Mission" will be appearing at T. Gene Davis's Speculative Blog and "Uplifting" will be in the November issue of Musa Publishing's short fiction magazine Penumbra. Both of these are also science fiction stories.

Finally, I have a fantasy short story in the forthcoming Alliteration Ink anthology "Not Our Kind: Tales of (Not) Belonging." That anthology is currently Kickstarting; I'll be writing more about the anthology and my story in a blog post before long.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Taking Flight

Years ago I'd read some blogs where the authors were creating lists of 101 things to do in 1000 days. I thought it was a really cool idea and spent some time making my own list. I've always talked a lot on this blog about the importance to me of goals and that list was a way of documenting goals. I put a decent amount of thought into it and did a fair number of the things on the list before losing steam on it after several months.

(One of the things which I did as part of that list was write some stories. Five of those have been published or are contracted to be published. In fact, the last one of those which was still circulating just sold in the past month or so.)

I took another look at the list recently and saw some things that I'd still like to do. And while I haven't created a new formal list yet, I've been actively marking off some of the things which were on the old list or would be on a new list during the past couple of months.

Something which wasn't on the old list but which sprung to mind when thinking about additions to a list was taking a flying lesson. A college friend of mine had gotten his private pilot's license quite a while back, and I remember finding his blog posts on the subject interesting reading. By coincidence, while I was having lunch with a coworker who I hadn't really spoken with in years it came up that this coworker was working on his own IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) pilot license. (VFR, or Visual Flight Rules, is the initial level of licensure. IFR requires additional training and study.) Since the idea of taking a flight lesson was on the top of my mind, I asked him if there was an instructor he would recommend. He recommended his own instructor, another coworker, and just that quick I had the instructor's contact information and then a lesson scheduled for six PM this evening.

Last night and today I was actively watching the weather, trying to determine if the flight would be able to happen or not. Mid-afternoon I got a message from the instructor that we were a go. But even getting ready to head down, I noticed some pop-up showers on the radar and wondered if the flight might be scrubbed.

I arrived at Fairfield County Airport shortly before six PM and my instructor, Jim, greeted me. We walked around the plane doing an extensive pre-flight check. I knew that such checks were part of flying but I was still surprised at the level of detail involved -- checking individual nuts, ensuring that various pieces of the plane had appropriate ranges of motion, etc. After about 30-40 minutes of this, it was time to climb into the plane. First, though, Jim pulled it out of the hanger. Literally pulled it.

We went through the rest of the pre-flight checklist, put on our headsets, and Jim had me taxi the plane around a bit. This was -- no joke -- the most difficult part of the whole experience for me. Steering the plane on the ground involves using foot pedals in a way that I found rather difficult to get comfortable with. I sort of managed, but needed some assistance from time to time. Then we were lined up with the runway and it was time for me to get the plane in the air.

Yes. Time for me to get the plane in the air. Jim and I had talked about this, so I knew I was going to be doing it, but it still was a bit nerve-wracking to have my very first actually flying-a-plane experience be getting it up off the ground. Keeping my hand on the throttle, watching the airspeed indicator, etc. It felt like a lot to be thinking about. But then before long we were leveling off. My first takeoff was complete!

We spent the next hour flying over the general Fairfield County area. When I say "we", I mostly mean "I" since I did probably 90% of the flying prior to the landing. I did ask Jim to take the controls briefly so I could take a few pictures. Here are two of them, taken from the pilot's seat.

There did end up being some rain around and we were steering away from it off and on. I do wish that I had thought to ask Jim to take the controls briefly at one point because there was a truly impressive view of a rain storm in the sort-of-kind-of-distance through the cockpit window at one point.

Before long, the hour was up and it was time for us to land. Jim offered to give me a role in the landing, but I decided that I would observe rather than participate in it. The landing was very smooth and I helped with taxiing the plane back to the hangar. No sooner had we gone through the post-flight checklist but rain started pouring down.

After the flight, Jim and I chatted for a while in the hangar. The process of getting a pilot's license isn't cheap, and realistically I don't see myself putting in the requisite number of hours in the near future. But I did say that I'd like to get up in the air again sometime this summer and, who knows, maybe next time I'll be the one doing the landing!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Still Here, Still Writing

It's been months and months since I posted here. I can't say that I feel like there's a whole lot of information that I haven't passed along, despite that. I've had a few stories sell and a few get published. My Publications Page is up to date. The big thing I'm looking forward to, presumably later this year, will be my first appearance in one of the major print digests. "Lakeside Memories" is due to come out in an upcoming issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. I wouldn't be surprised if it is in an issue dated for or released around Halloween.

Kazka Press, where I had some of my first sales before taking over as editor, is shutting down with the May issue. I'm kind of bummed about that, but deciding to shut down while we were still relatively on top of things was the right thing to do. Goldfish Grimm's Spicy Fiction Sushi, where I co-edit with Kelly Stiles, has been doing well. We've published some really cool stories there and are a full semi-pro publication now (offering at least a penny a word for all fiction acceptances). And the Unidentified Funny Objects series edited by Alex Shvartsman, for which I'm one of the Associate Editors, is heading to a third volume.

And I keep plugging along with writing new words. I'm not as rigorous about writing every day as I used to be, but I still keeping moving forward.