The Things I’m Bad At

There are a lot of things I’m bad at.  I can’t roller-skate, I swim like a cinder block, and there are at least three perfectly normal activities I’m not allowed to engage in without fire-department supervision.  Of course, there are also a few things I’m good at, but they aren’t worth mentioning because fitting an entire pancake into your mouth is not a marketable skill.

One of the things I’m positively terrible at, though, is keeping this site updated.  Which is why there’s a good chance no one knows about any of the following:

  1.  “The Woman With the Long Black Hair” was published in Fantasy & Science Fiction.  You can get the issue online or at Barnes & Noble, though the latter will probably only be displaying it for a few more weeks at the most.  
  2. After nearly five years of being stuck in editorial quicksand, “The Horror at Hatchet Point” has finally clawed its way to the surface and been published in the Lovecraftian fairy-tale anthology Twice Upon an Apocalypse.
  3. I recently sold to Unidentified Funny Objects 6 a story titled “Tyler the Snot Elemental Scours the Newspaper, Searching For Change.”  It’s about exactly what you think it’s about.

(Special thanks to UFO editor Alex Shvartsman for helping turn my hideous rough draft into something publishable.  Without your guidance, the world would never know what struggles a snot elemental faces in its daily life.)

And that’s it for now.  See you all at the next update!

-Z

Happy April Fools’ Day

I’m by no means a prankster (unless you count the time I tried to convince a stranger I had diplomatic immunity to local laws, which seemed like a great idea until she asked for my license and registration), so I’m not going to pull your leg with some false news here.  After all, I have no idea what your medical history is like; your leg might come clean off, and then I’d be stuck with some horror-film version of the “Major Award” from A Christmas Story.

So instead of tempting fate with a good-natured lie, I’m going to give you some real news:  two pieces of it, in fact, because today is a holiday, and this is how we’re going to celebrate.

Firstly, I recently sold a story to The Binge-Watching Cure, an anthology designed to relieve people of their Netflix addictions by getting them to read again.  “The Final Chapter of Marathon Mandy” (which I wrote way back in September of 2012) should be published sometime later this year.

Secondly, let’s talk about “The Black Clover Equation.”  This is another one I wrote in 2012 (August, in this case), and it only ever made the submission-rounds at a few markets before I forgot about it, leaving it to decompose in my trunk of cringe-inducing unsold fiction.  But something made me dig it up in 2015, and after just barely failing to sell it to Unidentified Funny Objects 4 (possibly because I sold editor Alex Shvartsman a different story:  “Champions of Breakfast”), I promptly got distracted by something and let my weird little tale of good and bad luck sink to the bottom of my trunk once more.

This brings us to late last year, when I got word that Flash Fiction Online was itchin’ for some humor stories.  FFO was the site of my first-ever fiction sale (professional or otherwise), so I dug up “The Black Clover Equation” and sent it on its way.

Now, about five years after that first publication, I’ve returned to FFO.  “The Black Clover Equation” went up today, and you can read it here.

Part of me feels like I should celebrate the occasion with a wild and crazy party.  After all, today’s a holiday, and if the neighbors complain about the noise, it’s okay–I’ve got diplomatic immunity.

-Z

EDIT:  Because I’m an idiot (or maybe just because I’m bad at updating my site–but more likely both), I’ve forgotten until now to mention that “The Final Chapter of Marathon Mandy” is not my first sale of the year:  I’ve also sold a piece of flash fiction called “Tessa and the Troll” to Galaxy’s Edge.  This will be my second publication in Galaxy’s Edge (the first being “Tomorrow’s Forecast,” from issue #20), and I can’t wait to see this lighthearted humor tale appear in the pages of Mike Resnick’s magazine.

Prophet Margins

Hello again, imaginary friends!  Today I’m pleased to announce that Alex Shvartsman has decided to buy my story “Prophet Margins” for his Unidentified Funny Objects 5 anthology.  This will be the third time I’ve appeared in a UFO volume, giving me a 60% success rate.  According to most grading systems, that’s a D-minus–or as I like to think of it, “A noticeable improvement over my junior year of high school.”

I owe Alex not only for buying my story, but for using his razor-sharp editorial skills to shape that dingy lump of fiction into something respectably shiny.  I guess this is why he’s the guy in charge, huh?

UFO5 will showcase a host of great authors, including big names like David Gerrold (whom you may know as the man who invented Tribbles) and Mike Resnick.  And speaking of Mike Resnick, I’ve got another piece of news.

Galaxy’s Edge #20 was published on May 1st, containing my story “Tomorrow’s Forecast.”  The current issue of Galaxy’s Edge is always available for free online, so if you’d like to check out my story there, be sure to do so before July.  (Alternatively, you could buy the ebook or one of those handsome physical volumes–both excellent options.)

And that’s it for now.  Until next time!

-Z

Tangent Online Recommended Reading List

Every year, Tangent Online publishes a recommended reading list for SF/F short fiction.  For 2015 they selected 416 stories, one of which sprang from the part of my brain that likes waffles and magic.  (You know:  the waffmagulum lobe.)  It’s called “Champions of Breakfast,” and you can find it in Unidentified Funny Objects 4, along with 15 other stories that made Tangent’s cut.  (Full list available here.)

Also, since my last post, Flame Tree Publishing’s Science Fiction Stories (which includes my story “Sweet Dreams, Glycerine”) has been published.  I have two copies of the book on my shelf, and I have to say:  they somehow managed to be even more gorgeous than anticipated.

-Z

 

This Time, It’s Not My Fault

Dear Dedicated Readers (i.e., Mom),

I once again find myself being late on an update:  “The Hornet’s Sting,” which I sold to Abyss and Apex in April of 2014, has been published.  In fact, it appears to have been published over a month ago, on December 9th, 2014.  I’d have gladly notified you all of this the moment it happened, except A) I’d hate to break my well-established streak of untimely updates, and B) I didn’t even know the story had been published until half an hour ago.  (Special thanks to Justin James for bringing this to my attention with his comment on my “About” page.)

Hopefully you enjoy the story (it’s free online), even though it’s now so old that it’s probably starting to smell funny.

-Z

Update (01/18/2015):  As indicated by Wendy’s comment below, the story was actually published on 01/01/2015.  But this still makes me late in notifying everyone, which means my streak of being a terrible communicator remains intact.  Victory!

I Am the King of Site Updates

. . . And like any good king, I hibernate every other year.  But now I’ve emerged from my Cave of Reclusivity (it’s a word, trust me–I’m a king), and come bearing a medley of news that’s one part recent, two parts outdated.

– News the first:  Bloody Knuckles has been published, which includes my science fiction/MMA story “The Miracle Man.”  You can check it out here.

– News the second:  I sold a flash story called “The Hornet’s Sting” to Abyss and Apex.  It’s due out in 2015, meaning you’ll see me mention it again sometime in 2037.

– News the third:  Not only did I sell a story to Intergalactic Medicine Show, but as of last night (11/25/2014), that story has been published!  You can read “Eli Whitney and the Cotton Djinn” here, and while you don’t have to be an American history buff to appreciate the story, being a cotton enthusiast would certainly help.

-Z

He Knew Not the Month Was October

As of last night*, the October 2013 issue of Lovecraft eZine is live, which includes my story, “He Knew Not the Month Was October.”  Like last year’s issue, this one is a tribute to Roger Zelazny’s Halloween classic, A Night in the Lonesome October.

If you haven’t read Zelazny’s book, my story may not make much sense.  If you have read Zelazny’s book, congratulations:  your existence is better than it otherwise might be, for Lonesome October is widely known for its ability to heighten one’s quality of life.

In other news (which probably shouldn’t be considered news, as this information is so old that it seems to violate the spirit of the word), “Tunnel Vision” is now available on the Daily Science Fiction website, as it has been for some time now.  If you’d like, you may read it.  You have my permission.

That’s all for now.

-Z

*The issue was only published “last night” if you’re reading this on October 25, 2013.  If you’re not, the rest of my post makes no sense.  You broke it.

Thanks for that.

Recent Publications: UFO, At Year’s End

It’s been a little quiet here lately, but I finally have something to announce:  Alex Shvartsman’s Unidentified Funny Objects and Kazka Press’s At Year’s End have both been published and are available for purchase.  Each of these anthologies includes a story written by me (“No Silver Lining” and “When Friends Come to Call,” respectively), which I can only assume is the result of an editorial mix-up or one of my many forgotten pacts with the devil.

If you’d like to read my contributions to these collections, please get your copies today, before someone realizes the error they’ve made or the dark prince comes for my soul (which is valued at considerably less than the market standard I claimed).  Although I haven’t had a chance to read UFO yet, I just finished At Year’s End last night, and I can say that it’s positively delightful–a perfect holiday treat for anyone who likes bite-sized fiction.

Unidentified Funny Objects

 

Unidentified Funny Objects (humorous SF/Fantasy stories) — $5.99 Kindle e-book; $15.99 trade paperback.  (Or, buy it directly from ufopub.com and get both the e-book and paperback for a total of $15.99!)

 

 

At Year's End

 

At Year’s End (year-end holiday stories, in the style of SF/Fantasy flash-fiction) — $2.99 Kindle e-book; $2.99 Nook e-book.