New Anthology

I am pleased as punch to announce that my story, “The Raven’s Venture,” for which I won an Honorable Mention from the Writers of the Future contest, will be published in an upcoming anthology called Shards: A Noblebright Fantasy Anthology on October 1st from all major retailers (links below).

Shards cover

Ooh! Lovely cover, right?

Noblebright, if you’re wondering, refers to a newer subgenre of fantasy with an emphasis on the heroic and the hopeful. As far as I know, the term was popularized by the editor of this anthology, C. J. Brightley. While I am unfamiliar with many of the works in this subgenre, heroic characters are deeply important to me as both a writer and a reader, so I was intrigued with the premise of noblebright when I first discovered it.

How I found out about this anthology is a bit ironic. On Facebook, one of the writing-related groups I follow is called Grimdark Fiction Readers & Writers, which a writer friend had recommended to me because of our mutual interest in Steven Erikson’s Malazan series. That said, I skew more on the “reader” side of that spectrum than “writer,” as my work isn’t grimdark. Often violent, dark, and scary, yes, but there’s always someone there to fight against the bad things that the world throws at them. And no matter how much they want to, they never give up.

Obviously, grimdark and noblebright are polar opposites in terms of the character and theme, and in many ways reflect a fundamentally different worldview. I can’t imagine there being a lot of crossover between the strongest adherents of each. So if a diehard grimdarker shares a call for submissions for a noblebright anthology, you can bet its with more than a little tongue-in-cheek.

Original poster’s derision aside, I realized I had a perfect story looking for a home and the Shards anthology looked like a nice, cozy home. I’m glad the editor felt the same way.

I hope you’ll check it out when it’s released, and please remember to leave a review! Those go a long way in increasing visibility for authors and their books. Thanks!

Finds Shards on:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

Kobo

iTunes

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Release the Dragons

Today marks the release of Dragon Writers: An Anthology! It features stories by loads of new and established authors, so there’s something (a whole lot of somethings, in my opinion!) for everyone in it. Aside from those of the Big Names of course, I’ve read stories by several of the other authors in the book, and they are all quite talented.

In my story “Manifest,” Torra is an old artisan who has lost the use of his hands. However, dragons have within them the power of creation, and Torra is able to use dragon magic to continue crafting amazing works in spite of his infirmity. But when tragedy strikes, Torra must discover the terrible cost of dragon magic and decide whether or not it’s worth using.

Check it out, and please tell others what you think by writing a review of the book!

You can also purchase the anthology in paperback.

Red Unicorns

For the past several hours, I’ve been pacing and fidgeting around my computer, wondering if ten minutes is too short a time to wait before checking my email again. I went back on forth on the issue, and eventually decided that only waiting five minutes was probably fine. I’m pretty sure I started checking it every three minutes.

Last year, a call for submissions to an anthology went out to the alumni of Superstars Writing Seminars. I was an alum, but I hadn’t been keeping up with the others much over the past couple years, and I had my hands full with my own projects and living in a new country. I didn’t submit.

That anthology had one driving theme and one basic requirement: purple unicorns. While a fantasy buff, I hadn’t developed much of an interest in unicorns since I cracked open my first fantasy novel. I didn’t think I had a unicorn story in me.

Unicorns, man. Unicorns.

Even so, I watched the proceedings with interest. The anthology, called One Horn to Rule Them All: A Purple Unicorn Anthology, was released in August of last year by WordFire Press. It was well-received, and sales exceeded expectations. The stories were strong, the artwork (by the talented James A. Owen) excellent.

Its publication wasn’t like that of any other anthology, at least not for me. Many of the authors in that anthology were people that I had met and knew, and because of that, I was buoyed by their infectious joy. Even though I wasn’t a part of the anthology, I couldn’t help but feed off of the enthusiasm and excitement of those who were.

I don’t often feel regret, but at that time, I felt more than a bit. I wanted in, but I had missed my window.

At least, that’s what I thought.

A few months ago, another call went out, this time for Game of Horns: A Red Unicorn Anthology. I still didn’t have any unicorn stories in me burning to get out, but I decided that could be an advantage: I would write a unicorn story that wasn’t your average unicorn story. It wouldn’t be laden with castles or forests or young Tom Cruises in scalemail.

Thus was born “Scrapyard Paradise,” a post-apocalyptic alien invasion unicorn story. I can’t be 100% sure, but it might be the first of its kind.

I wrote it, polished it (with the help of my brutal, bloodthirsty comrades, the Tokyo Writers Workshop, as well as my parents — voracious readers, both of them), and sent it off. I also tried to forget about it while I waited, but that didn’t work out so well.

Finally, yesterday, the editor began to send out notifications in waves. I waited and waited and waited. No email.

Then she announced the table of contents for the anthology. “Scrapyard Paradise” was there. I checked and saw the email she had sent, confirming it. I was in.

There was dancing, and it may or may not have involved the Running Man.

I will probably share more about this later, but for now, please excuse me while I go watch Tim Curry in a devil suit.