Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

My science fiction story, “Comfort Zone,” is featured in the spring 2021 issue of British scifi magazine, Mythaxis.

Editorial introduction:

There’s a certain theme in science fiction and fantasy that’s always been popular – hard to set this up without spoiling it! Hollywood movies have repeatedly run with it (usually for laughs), so too surely every TV show in either genre. It has clear horror potential too, but very rarely are such stories approached from the outsider’s point-of-view. KC Grifant does so here, and with a similarly atypical air of loss, rather than gain.

In “Comfort Zone,” a new technology designed to improve empathy has the unintended side effect of putting a mom and daughter at odds. This story was inspired by my time reporting on emerging technologies while a science journalist. Specifically, research in the areas of quantum computing, brain-machine interfaces and neural imaging came together in a tale about the speed of which technology advances, and what happens when it’s hard to accept how fast the world–and children–can change.

You can read the story online for free here or an excerpt below.

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2019roundup
Overview

The end of the year is always a good time to take stock of accomplishments of the past year and reflect on upcoming goals.

In general, 2019 was packed with exciting books, TV and movie releases in horror and other genre fiction. There are plenty of lists out there detailing some of the standouts (here and here, for example). Overall, the wealth of genre stories hitting mainstream audiences is encouraging for those of us who toil in realms of the fantastical and strange.

Personally, this was a productive year of writing for me. I wrote a number of short stories in 2019 as well as two novellas. With a demanding full-time job and wild two-year-old to take care of, I found it more important than ever to carve out writing time.

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My nonfiction essay titled “What’s Next for the Weird West” is available in Aurealis Magazine’s last issue of the year, along with excellent speculative stories, essays and reviews.

This essay explores one of my increasingly favorite areas of fiction. I cover some of the crossover aspects of weird west fiction along with new and must-read books, and why the time is ripe for a resurgence in this fun genre.

Editor Dirk Strasser writes about this issue of the award-winning Australia-based monthly SF/F magazine:

We always like to go out with a bang in the last issue for the year and Aurealis #126 is no exception. In this bumper issue we feature ‘Marked for Life’, J.R. Schuyler’s powerful tale of blood magic, snowbeasts and transformation, Stephen Higgin’s quirky and enigmatic ‘Cradle’, and the dark science fiction of Eric Del Carlo’s gender and identity exploration story ‘Flesh of the Other.’

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Excerpt from “What’s Next for the Weird West” is below:

“Howdy, partner.”

A figure silhouetted in a hat and dusty jacket bursts into a bar. Poker players and prostitutes scramble as the loner saunters in, steely eyes prepping for a showdown.

The scene is all too familiar in Wild West stories, which usually incorporate iconic characters ranging from outlaws, gunslingers and law-keepers. On the frontier, where one must keep their wits about them and where anything goes, the stoic cowboy hero archetype helped set the foundation for some of today’s superheroes and modern American fiction. But the Weird West genre offers a fresh take on the iconic—and often overused—imagery and caricatures of the Wild West.

The Weird West genre—where Wild West elements mash with other genres ranging from horror, scifi and fantasy—has been around as long as the Wild West itself though never fully in the limelight. Something about the unknown wilderness invites more speculative wanderings; infusions of werewolves, demons, ghosts, aliens, magic and otherworldly elements seem right at home amidst wild mountains, endless desert and a vast, unforgiving landscape.

Issue #126 also finishes with reviewers’ picks of the best speculative fiction in 2019. 

To read the full essay and other pieces in this issue, visit here.

My micro horror story (~200 words) “Protection” is now available in the online version of Frozen Wavelets issue #1, a newly launched speculative flash fiction and poetry magazine based in Scotland.

 

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About Frozen Wavelets, from Editor Steph P. Bianchini:

Frozen Wavelets is an e-zine of speculative flash fiction and poetry, offspring of The Earthian Hivemind. We exist because we believe there’s not enough out there that specialises in this exquisite and peculiar format, not because it is not worthy of attention but because the genre fiction market logic overall doesn’t favour it. This is our contribution to give voice to writers and poets who love it as much as we do, and who keep writing it nonetheless.

TOC of Frozen Wavelets issue #1:

She Sleeps (Annie Neugebauer)

The Sea Bride (Deborah Davitt)

Protection (Kc Grifant)

Alien Evening (Kim Whysall-Hammond)

At the Frayed Edges of The Night (Isabel Cañas)

Bulgarian Grass – Българска Трева (Margarita I Serafimova)

Shell (Sonora Taylor)

The Wishing Clock of Gassytown (Deborah Wong)

Moon Catcher (Beth Cato)

Our Flesh Was Bred for This (Octavia Cade)

Sparse Wavelets (Colleen Anderson, Stewart C. Baker, Anatoly Belilovsky, Marc Criley, Pat Tompkins, Dawn Vogel)

Read more about the contributors here or visit the Patreon page here.

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My weird western tale “A Dusty Arrival” is cited in this excellent guide Writing Speculative Fiction: Creative and Critical Approaches by Eugen Bacon. Bacon, PhD, is a computer scientist and award-winning writer and editor. Her book is a useful resource for anyone looking to start writing or learn more about speculative fiction.

From the publisher:

In this engaging and accessible guide, Eugen Bacon explores writing speculative fiction as a creative practice, drawing from her own work, and the work of other writers and theorists, to interrogate its various subgenres. Through analysis of writers such as Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien and J. K. Rowling, this book scrutinises the characteristics of speculative fiction, considers the potential of writing cross genre and covers the challenges of targeting young adults.  It connects critical and cultural theories to the practice of creative writing, examining how they might apply to the process of writing speculative fiction. Both practical and critical in its evaluative gaze, it also looks at e-publishing as a promising publishing medium for speculative fiction.

This is essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students of Creative Writing, looking to develop a critical awareness of, and practical skills for, the writing of speculative fiction. It is also a valuable resource for creators, commentators and consumers of contemporary speculative fiction.

Check out this helpful guide with tips for aspiring as well as veteran writers in genre fiction at the link.

TremblingWithFear

Trembling with Fear Year One is a collection of horror short stories and drabbles.

My short horror scifi story “Turning Tides” appears Trembling with Fear: Year 1, a print anthology collection of horror-themed flash and short fiction now available.

“Turning Tides” was first published at The Horror Tree’s January 29, 2017 online edition. The story is what’s known as a “drabble.” These are flash fiction pieces taken to an extreme, incorporating style, character and plot all within a paltry 100 words.

The new collection, which includes both dribbles and flash stories, is edited by Stephanie Ellis and Stuart Conover, who curate the immensely popular Horror Tree website.

From the publisher:

This Trembling With Fear anthology is a compilation of all the drabbles, flash fiction stories and dark poetry published during 2017 at HorrorTree.com. In its pages you will find work from both the novice and the established writer, the newbie and the award-winner. Here, the dead walk and murders abound, demons and ghosts torment the living whilst vampires and wolves compete for space with internet and aliens. Within these pages you will find dark speculative fiction from contributors across the globe, for our world is a world without borders. Nowhere is safe from the dark.

We have had some amazing talent contribute to the first year of ‘Trembling With Fear’ and we hope that you enjoy reading these as much as we have!

Read more or buy the book (digital or print) here.

My story BETTER HALVES and other unsettling paranormal and cosmic tales are now available in the print issue of Lovecraft eZine (#36), published by Mike Davis.

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I wouldn’t want to run into that creature at night!

 

 

I am honored to have my story reprint, “What the Storm Brings,” included in this Stoker finalist anthology with a number of excellent female horror writers. FRIGHT MARE – WOMEN WRITE HORROR is now available on Amazon in print and ebook format. Check out that eerie cover!

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