Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Autumn is Here

Autumn is here in the northern hemisphere, the most noticeable signs being the first few trees trading their green foliage for orange, the vees of honking geese passing by in early evening, and the way twilight creeps in a little earlier each day. The arrival of cooler weather generally means, for me, more indoor time, which is maybe a good thing considering the backlog of projects I’ve been meaning to get to.

Recent Publications
I’ve been a long-time supporter of the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, located near Guelph, Ontario, so when they sent out a call for drabbles (100-word pieces) for an anthology about donkeys, I was all in. I opted to describe an encounter with a donkey called Danny that occurred years ago during one of my first visits to the Donkey Sanctuary. I was fortunate enough to have my story selected for inclusion, and in turn received a copy of the donkey drabbles book.

The 76-page anthology, approximately 5 inches x 7 inches in size, is a handsome collection of donkey tales printed on glossy paper. The drabbles are printed on the right-hand pages, with an accompanying photo printed on the left-hand page facing each drabble. Proceeds from the book go to support the donkeys, and it’s one of a number of items on offer at the Long Ears Boutique.

My review of Timothy S. Johnston’s The War Beneath: The Rise of Oceania appeared on The Future Fire September 7, 2019. The War Beneath depicts a future (2129) society where humans have established undersea cities on the Earth. All of the action takes place underwater. Johnston’s imaginative and believable novel has plenty of action but also delves into the politics of under-ocean cities vis a vis their counterparts, and their “parent” countries. Interesting stuff. You can find the review at:

My poem “From Cat, To Fiddle” appeared in New Myths, Issue 48, published September 15, 2019. New Myths is accessible free of charge. The link is below:

Poems also appeared in Polar Borealis, September issue (“Drawing Parallels”), the August 2019 print edition of Scifaikuest (“Crossed Signals,” “Departure Day,” and “[the colonists need]”), and Third Wednesday’s fall 2019 edition (“A Message Home”).

What I’m Working On
Still working through my backlog of book reviews, with a review of Edward Willett’s Master of the World in the draft stage. Willett’s second book in the Worldshapers series, which picks up where Book One left off, whisks us off to a Jules Verne-inspired world. Interesting.

I’m looking forward to getting review copies of The Library of the Unwritten and How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse (the titles alone were irresistible). More on those books later.

Not so much action on the fiction front lately, but I hope to rectify that in the coming months. Until next time.

Monday, September 2, 2019

September Again

Not sure about you, but for me August seemed to fly by. All of a sudden it was the final week of the month, and, sadly, so much on the to-do list left un-to-done. Life has a habit of getting in the way of such things. On the other hand, the cucumber plants are finally producing, the Roma tomatoes are ripening on the vine, and we’ve had a break from the long stretch of hot and humid weather that seemed to be the trademark of this past summer.

Recent Publications
A short story entitled “The Sleeper Agent” was published in Nomadic Delirium’s Mundanities: the Zine of Mundane Science Fiction, Issue 2. Synopsis: When she was diagnosed with Grade 1 brain cancer in 2030, policewoman Marcy Norvek opted for cryogenic hiber-sleep. However, flaws in the sleep cradles meant an early awakening for Marcy, despite the fact that no cure for her condition had yet been found. Marcy opts to return to the Police Force part-time while awaiting her opportunity to return to hibernation—until a missing persons case causes her to have second thoughts about the merits of sleeping your life away.

A submission call for Anne of Green Gables-themed work prompted the writing of the poem, “All the Alternate Annes”, which appeared at Eastern Iowa Review’s web site; link provided below:

Two poems, “Choices,” and “We Wish You Luck,” appeared in the most recent issue of Star*Line. The latter poem was inspired, in part, by a very odd dream.

Two poems, “The Navigator” and “Alt 452” appeared in Illumen’s Summer 2019 edition. “Alt 452” is a tongue-in-cheek look at an alternate history in which Canada’s provinces and territories end up as part of the United States.

A haibun entitled “A Foreign Sky” was published in Scifaikuest online, August 2019. This particular poem can be found at the link below:

What I'm Working On
I’m currently continuing to work through my list of pending book reviews. Next up is Jack Campbell’s Ascendant.

Coming Soon
My review of Timothy S. Johnston’s novel The War Beneath is slotted for publication on The Future Fire’s web site in early September. Johnston’s novel, which revolves around the premise of undersea cities, was an interesting and thought-provoking read.

Poems and short stories accepted for various publications, including New Myths and Bards and Sages Quarterly, will appear in the September to November time frame.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Dried Leaves and Walking Trails

Went out for a walk along one of the trails on the east side of our small town at the start of the month, and noticed that some of the poplar leaves are starting to yellow and fall. When I was still in school, it always struck me when I saw the leaves starting to slowly make their way to the ground near the end of July that the return to school was imminent.

No more school for me, not full-time anyway (although the fall invariably spurs me to do a search of online courses that might be of interest), but the leaves remain a reminder of how quickly time passes. Before we know it, this summer’s high daytime temperatures and strength-sapping humidity will be things of the past. In a way, that suits me. I find it easier to carve time out of the day to sit in front of the laptop once summer is over.

Until then, I’ll have to sandwich writing time between watering the garden, replenishing the bird bath, and all the other little tasks that seem to compete for attention during the summer months.

Recent Publications
My poem “Into the Net” appeared in Eye to the Telescope Issue 33, with the theme of “Infection”. You can find a link to the issue here:

I also had two poems, “When They Stopped” and “Fireflies?” published in the July 2019 edition of Outposts of Beyond.

My review of Mike Resnick’s The Master of Dreams was published on The Future Fire August 1. You can find the link here:

What I'm Working On
Still refining my review of The War Beneath, a near-future (2129) science fiction novel by Timothy S. Johnston depicting intrigue under the seas right here on Earth, and have started making review notes for Jack Campbell’s military science fiction novel Ascendant.

Also on the non-fiction front, I’ll be working on a piece to submit to Small Farm Canada, as well as some Chicken Soup for the Soul callouts.

Coming Soon
Poems and short stories accepted for various publications, including Scifaikuest, New Myths, and Bards and Sages Quarterly, will appear in the August to November time frame. Now, back to work with writing and reviewing!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

July 2019 update: An Unexpected Benefit

When babysitting our granddaughters, we'd often read nursery rhymes to them. They enjoyed the rhythm and rhyme, and I found it a pleasant stroll down memory lane. Recently, I’ve enjoyed unexpected benefits from having those old stories brought back to mind. I've had two nursery-rhyme-inspired poems published—one most recently in June—with another slated to appear in September 2019. Who knew?

Recent Publications
The June nursery-rhyme-inspired poem appeared on the New Myths web site, June 15, as part of Issue 47. It’s entitled “No Fairy Tale World,” and New Myths was kind enough to include it on their Reader’s Choice Award ballot. You can find the link to the poem here:

Also received word from the publisher that the Future Days anthology from Castrum Press, which includes my short story “The Caller”, has been released as an audio book.

What I'm Working On
I’m currently working on a review of The War Beneath, a near-future (2129) sci-fi novel by Timothy S. Johnston depicting intrigue under the seas right here on Earth. Next up for review is Jack Campbell’s military sci-fi Ascendant.

On the fiction front, I have a number of short stories I’m smoothing out before sending (or, in some cases, re-sending).

Just finished a review of Mike Resnick’s The Master of Dreams. That review is out on the submission trail.

Coming Soon
My poem “Into the Net” was accepted for Eye to the Telescope Issue 33, with the theme of “Infection”. Looking forward to seeing that issue, which comes out in mid-July.

New Myths accepted my review of Suzanne Palmer’s novel Finder. Publication date for that review is TBD.

Post to Print’s second anthology of stories told from a cat’s point of view is now in production, with a target publication date of mid-October 2019. For a sneak peek at the contents, check out the story summaries on Post to Print’s website.

My story “A Dose of Humility” is among the mix. This story features Pepper the dog and Quicksilver the cat. Pepper and Quicksilver also appeared in “The Open Road”, which was included in the first From A Cat’s View anthology.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Mid-May Update

Well, there’ve been plenty of April showers in our parts—time to bring on the May flowers. Rhubarb is coming up, as is the garlic planted last fall, and the asparagus left behind by the previous occupants of our property, so I can’t complain. Seeing lots of birds returning; saw a rose-breasted grosbeak at the feeder this morning, and a black-throated blue warbler in the shrubbery a week or two ago.

Recent Publications
My review of Paul Meloy’s Adornments of the Storm appeared on The Future Fire’s review site April 23rd. Adornments of the Storm was a follow-up to Meloy’s earlier novel The Night Clock, and proved to be a fitting sequel. Great to see Bix, Bronze John, and the other characters back in action. You can find the review at The Future Fire:

I also received my copy of The Daily Grind, a coffee-themed anthology, in the mail. Goal Publications’ submission call for coffee-themed furry stories inspired my short story “Grounds for Questioning”, about a border collie cop’s first day on the job. This story was included in the anthology, and as a bonus provided inspiration for two other tales featuring the central character Rally. Had lots of fun writing all three stories, so thanks to the folks at Goal Publications for putting out their initial submission call.

What I'm Working On
I recently finished reading W. Michael Gear's Outpost, which I will subsequently review. Interesting story with lots of twists and turns.

I received two additional review books in the mail recently, Timothy S. Johnston’s The War Beneath, and Guy Gavriel Kay’s A Brightness Long Ago. A work colleague introduced me to Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry series years ago, and it remains one of my all-time favourites. I’ve just started reading A Brightness Long Ago; finding it interesting so far.

I have a few short stories I am working on refining, and have been sending a few items for the Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can’t Stop Laughing story call-out.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Eye to the Telescope Issue 32 and other items

Lots of things happening so far in April, so I’m providing a mid-month update this time.

Recent Publications
I volunteered to serve as guest editor for an issue of Eye to the Telescope, Issue 32, with the theme of Sports and Games. Eye to the Telescope is a quarterly online magazine featuring speculative poetry, with the theme changing with each issue. For the issue I edited, I received lots of imaginative submissions covering a variety of sports and games. Kudos to all of the selected writers, whose work you can find here:

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Life Lessons from the Dog, released earlier in April, included three stories about Sneeks, a border collie cross with character who lived with us for just over 15 years.

Coming Soon
I had the privilege of reviewing Paul Meloy's Adornments of the Storm, a fitting follow-up to the events of his earlier novel entitled The Night Clock. My review is now written and should appear on The Future Fire’s web site on or around April 23rd.

What I'm Working On
Just finished a second reading of Suzanne Palmer's novel Finder, published by Daw, in order to prepare review notes. Finder is an imaginative and fast-moving science fiction novel that I would highly recommend.

Next up for review writing will be Jack Campbell’s Ascendant, a military sci-fi with engaging characters and plenty of action. Then it’s on to Mike Resnick’s The Master of Dreams, a humorous but suspenseful romp through world strangely familiar—and yet, not.

Still on my first reading of W. Michael Gear's Outpost, with the action just starting to heat up a few chapters in.

More updates at the start of May . . .

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Robins are Back, So Spring Must Be Here

The robins are back, so spring is officially here, even if the temperature doesn't necessarily show it on a daily basis. Looking forward to getting back out in the garden.

Recent Publications
In March, I received my January 2019 issue of Outposts of Beyond, published by Alban Lake. This volume contained four of my poems, "In the Eye", "The Strings Fall Silent", "Might There Always Be", and "Been There Before", as well as a short story titled "Missing".

Also from Alban Lake Publishing, Scifaikuest, February 2019, print edition included a joined tanka, and the online edition included three poems, [Second Great Flood], [one last building], [fifth year since they arrived], Scifaikuest online, February 2019.

Alban Lake's Orbital Hotel, a collection of drabbles, included two of my 100-word stories, "The First Shall be Last", and "Time to Go".

Space and Time, Issue #133 included my poem "Long Gone."

On April 2, my review of David M. Allan's novel The Empty Throne appeared on The Future Fire's site.

Last but not least, the April/May issue of Our Canada contained two short humor pieces, "Doggone Sneeks" and "Savvy Cat", along with a photo of the late great Sneeks, a quirky border collie-terrier cross who kept us entertained for the fifteen and a half years she lived with us.

Coming Soon
I had the privilege of reviewing Paul Meloy's dark fantasy novel The Night Clock some time ago for Strange Horizons, Meloy has now published a sequel entitled Adornments of the Storm, a fitting follow-up to the events of The Night Clock. I've completed a review of Adornments of the Storm and will provide an update on where you can read the review in my next post.

I also volunteered to serve as guest editor for an issue of Eye to the Telescope, Issue 32, with the theme of Sports and Games. Reading the submissions, making the selections for the issue, and corresponding with the poets has kept me busy for the past couple of months. I was really impressed by the range of approaches in the poems submitted, and it was a tough choice narrowing down the final few. The issue goes live April 15th.

What I'm Working On
Just finished reading Suzanne Palmer's novel Finder, published by Daw. I received a hard-cover version for review, with decent-sized print that didn't overtax my aging eyes. I really enjoyed the story, which was fast-paced with some interesting twists and a dose of humor. I'll be doing a review in the next couple of weeks, and will let you know where you can find it once published.

I'm almost finished reading Jack Campbell's Ascendant, a military sci-fi. I found it an entertaining read, and it will be next up on my list of review to-dos.

Also in the read-and-review queue are Mike Resnick's The Master of Dreams and W. Michael Gear's Outpost.

So, lots of reading to do in the next short while. But that's okay. In the long rung, I think it will make me a better writer.