Archive for the 'Science Fiction and Fantasy' Category

new books out today!

I’ve been working on a lot of short stories lately, and today you can read a couple of new ones from me in two excellent young adult anthologies, Behind the Song, edited by K.M. Walton (S0urcebooks), and Feral Youth, edited by Shaun David Hutchinson (Simon & Schuster). I’m proud of both of these pieces, and so honored and thrilled to have contributed to these collections with some true YA rock stars.

SoundtrackBehind the Song

A song to match everyone’s heartbeat.

A soaring melody, a pulse-pounding beat, a touching lyric: Music takes a moment and makes it a memory. It’s a universal language that can capture love, heartbreak, loss, soul searching, and wing spreading-all in the span of a few notes. In Behind the Song, fourteen acclaimed young adult authors and musicians share short stories and personal essays inspired by the songs, the albums, the musicians who move them.

So cue up the playlist and crank the volume. This is an anthology you’ll want to experience on repeat.

My contribution to Behind the Song is titled “City Girl”, inspired by one of my favorite songs, “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane. Here’s a brief excerpt:

ANARA TRUDGED THROUGH THE MONOTONOUS TREES, regretting the life choices that had brought her here. They were so far off the beaten path, the terrain was beating them—with low, whiplike branches and loose pebbles and crusty mud patches that were deeper
than they looked. Deep enough to slurp down one of your favorite shoes.

Anara and Trace weren’t supposed to be wandering in this wildlife sanctuary, so she had only herself to blame. She swallowed her frustration. Like the mud had swallowed her left sneaker clean off her damn foot.

Clean?

“Good point. Nothing about this expedition’s clean,” she muttered.

Feral_Youth_AvailNow

Feral Youth

Ten teens are left alone in the wilderness during a three-day survival test in this multi-authored novel edited by award-winning author Shaun David Hutchinson.

At Zeppelin Bend, an outdoor-education program designed to teach troubled youth the value of hard work, cooperation, and compassion, ten teens are left alone in the wild. The teens are a diverse group who come all walks of life, and were all sent to Zeppelin Bend as a last chance to get them to turn their lives around. They’ve just spent nearly two weeks hiking, working, learning to survive in the wilderness, and now their instructors have dropped them off eighteen miles from camp with no food, no water, and only their packs, and they’ll have to struggle to overcome their vast differences if they hope to survive.

Inspired by The Canterbury Tales, the characters in Feral Youth, each complex and damaged in their own ways, are enticed to tell a story (or two) with the promise of a cash prize. The stories range from noir-inspired revenge tales to mythological stories of fierce heroines and angry gods. And while few of the stories are claimed to be based in truth, they ultimately reveal more about the teller than the truth ever could.

My piece in Feral Youth, “Big Brother”, is very different from my usual, and it kind of surprised and shocked even me. Turns out this isn’t a story you should read at a family friendly bookstore event, though in my defense, no one warned me… Anyway, I love it when fiction takes me to new places and challenges me to grow as a writer, and I think it turned out great. Another brief excerpt, submitted for your approval:

You know that “Invisible Hand” video that went viral a couple of years ago? Of course you do. Everyone’s seen it. As of last month, the last time I had Internet access, it had over two-and-a-half billion views—almost as much as “Gangnam Style.” I bet if it were shorter and had music, if would be number one. Missed opportunities. On the other hand, people have cut it down and remixed it with everything from the Ghostbusters theme (too obvious) to Hamilton’s “Satisfied” (strangely satisfying), and there’s just no beating the original. Pun intended.

Okay, so if you haven’t seen it, you’ve probably heard about it, unless you’ve been living under a rock, or living without Wi-Fi, which is the same thing. The original video’s really long, about six hours—six hours, seven minutes, forty-two seconds to be exact. Sure, most viewers only watch a certain seventeen minutes near the beginning, but the length of the video helps make the case for its authenticity.

You really haven’t seen it? Okay. The video shows a pretty average teenage girl’s bedroom and a pretty average teenage girl sleeping in bed. The light’s on, which, yeah, maybe seems weird. A lot of people have pointed to that as evidence that it’s a hoax, but there’s a reason for it, trust me. And she’s sleeping on top of the covers with gym shorts and a tank top. There’s a book next to her, but you can’t quite make out what it is. It’s The Martian Chronicles.

You can hear me read more of this at the KGB Fantastic Fiction series here.

I hope you’ll consider checking out these anthologies; chances are, you’ll connect strongly with at least one of the stories in each of them, and even if you don’t enjoy mine, I can guarantee the other stories are amazing. If you do pick them up and read them, online reviews and recommendations to your book-loving friends are always greatly appreciated!

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ReMade Redux!

remades01e04

My first episode of ReMade, “The Most Dangerous Game”, is now available! (I blogged about this project here.)

$1.99 will get you the story in both print and audio formats for the eReader of your choice, or you can read it online or in the Serial Box iPhone app. It should take less than an hour to read, and if you haven’t been keeping up with the series, we do have a “Previously, on ReMade…” recap :)

If you’ve enjoyed my work, I hope you’ll check this out because I’m really proud and excited about it. And if you like what you see, you can get episode 1 for free and subscribe to the whole season at a discounted rate with a season pass–just like your favorite TV shows! That’s the best way to read the whole thing; I have two more episodes coming this season, Episode 8: “End of the Line” on Nov. 2 and Episode 11: “We’re Dead in This Ghost Town” on Nov. 23 (the special Thanksgiving episode, ha ha).

Thanks, and I appreciate comments, reviews, and all the signal boosting you can manage!

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Foreign Currency

One of the most incredible things about being an author is having my book published outside of the United States. A few years ago we sold the rights to my first novel, Fair Coin, to Sharp Point Press, a Taiwanese publisher. I recently saw their stunning cover for the book, which I am thrilled to share with you:

fair coin tw

I am such a big fan of this! The book will be coming out in Taiwan in the fall, I think as early as next month. And Sharp Point has something really special in mind: They are selling books with replicas of the quantum coin Ephraim finds, which resemble a U.S. quarter from another universe in which Puerto Rico is the 51st state! Wow. I’ve seen a mock-up of the coin, and I am so excited and impressed. I hope I get one of those, and I’ll share pics of the finished book and coin when I can.

For comparison, below is the U.S. cover of Fair Coin, illustrated by Sam Weber, and because I’m not sure if I’ve shared it here before, the equally amazing Russian cover, by Darya Kuznetsova.

FairCoinrussian

This has been a good book week for me. :)

Which cover do you like best?

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Story Sale! (I hope!)

HYI usually don’t post about story sales until I have a signed contract in hand, but in the case of my story “In His Own Image”, which I sold to the anthology Hidden Youth: Speculative Stories of Marginalized Children (ed. Mikki Kendall and Chesya Burke), I held off a little longer.

See, although I have a contract, the anthology will not be published unless its ongoing Kickstarter is funded successfully. The publisher, Crossed Genres, ran into some financial difficulties and the previous preorder campaign didn’t generate enough interest to produce the book, but they’re committed to publishing it anyway — because telling these stories, by and about people with diverse backgrounds, who have traditionally been suppressed and sidelined by history and media, is vital. Fortunately, as of this writing, 715 backers agree. The Kickstarter has a little more than $2500 left to reach its goal in the next 36 hours.

Please help us get there! If you can’t spare the money right now, then please do what you can to spread the word as much as you can.

I’m really excited by the authors and stories in this collection, which includes many first publications by new writers — which is exactly what we hope to encourage. Check out the table of contents at the Kickstarter, but look at some of these titles: “How I Saved Athens from the Stone Monsters” (by Erik Jensen), “The Bread-Thing in the Basket” (by K.T. Katzmann), “The Ostrich Egg Girl” (by JM Templet). I want to read those! Don’t you? It also features a gorgeous cover by Hugo and Locus Award–winning artist Julie Dillon, and each story will have its own illustration as well!

What of my story? “In His Own Image” is a story set in early 20th century Korea, in the midst of a war with Japan fought with giant steampunk robots. Jun-min is a young, blind mechanic who is reluctantly recruited to the war effort. His only companions are his Seeing Eye—essentially a steampunk BB-8—and his screwy clockwork dad.

I really hope you have the chance to read it! Preorder Hidden Youth in eBook for $10, or contribute at any level from $1 to $80 for all sorts of fabulous prizes and packages. If you like short stories, stories in multicultural settings with interesting characters, or young adult fiction, I think you’ll like this anthology.

Thank you!

 

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Kaleidoscope Sale!

KaleidoscopeCover-679x1024In celebration of Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories being nominated for Australia’s prestigious Ditmar Award for Best Collected Work, the eBook of the anthology will be on sale for $1.99 from Thursday, April 2 through Monday, April 6! Whatever flavor you like your eBooks in — Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, etc. — it’s only $1.99!

This is a very fine collection of stories, and I’m so proud to be a part of it. I read the beginning of my story “Kiss and Kiss and Kiss and Tell” at the recording of LIVE AT THE WRITER’S HOUSE, which will air on Monday, April 6 at 8pm EST on WXPN. If you were there (thank you for coming!) find out what happens next by grabbing the $1.99 eBook. If you missed it, you can still listen on Monday and then get the book before the sale ends. You can also read some free stories from the collection online.

At only $1.99, with twenty fantastic stories from amazing authors*, there is zero probability that you will regret picking up Kaleidoscope!

Me reading from KALEIDOSCOPE at Live at the Writers House. Photo by Eric Smith.

Me reading from KALEIDOSCOPE at Live at the Writers House. Photo by Eric Smith.

* Yeah, in this instance I’m including me in that glowing praise, because I think this is one of my best stories and I felt pretty amazing when I wrote it.

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