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.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Spring Is Coming, Right?

An unusual amount of freezing rain here in Southwestern Ontario so far in 2019. Good for writing, though. When the roads are too treacherous to venture outdoors, it gives you a good excuse to take a seat in front of the laptop for awhile.

Recent Publications
A short story entitled "Breakaway" appeared in Issue #1 of Nomadic Delirium's Mundanities in early February. You can find information about the issue here:

"It Is Said" (fantasy poem) and a review of Edward Willett's poetry book, I Tumble Through the Diamond Dust appeared in Star*Line Issue 42.1 (Winter 2019)

Coming Soon
A poem entitled "Long Gone" is scheduled to appear in Issue 133 of Space and Time, due out around March 20, 2019.

What I'm Working On
Until March 15th, I'll still be collecting speculative poetry submissions for Eye to the Telescope Issue 32: Sports and Games, which I am guest editing. Lots of good submissions so far, and looking forward to seeing the final edition go online in April 2019.

I have more ideas for short stories than I can keep up with, so working on bringing some of those ideas to fruition (ah, the tricky part). Based on some of my more recent experiences, I'm going back to trying more up-front thinking before getting started on the meat of the story. This seems to help me provide the appropriate amount of detail, as opposed to just glossing things over. It also tends to reduce the number of dead ends I encounter.

Also catching up on my book review commitments. Some volumes were delayed in the mail, but they're starting to catch up with me—which is a good thing, right?

And poetry ideas continue to suggest themselves, sometimes sparked by news items, sometimes initiated by poetry exercises from books like Wingbeats II or The Crafty Poet.

So, keeping busy, even though it may not look like it from the publication report for February.

On to March. Looking forward to seeing the robins . . .

Friday, February 1, 2019

Winter's Here—Time to Write

Don't know about you, but in late January, winter set in with a vengeance around here. By the end of the month, we were digging out from significant snowfall and trying our best to stay warm. On the plus side, the weather made sitting in front of the computer seem pretty inviting, so I've been getting a fair bit of traction on my various writing projects.

Recent Publications
Have you ever wondered whether attending a visitation or funeral and sharing your positive or funny memories of the deceased with their loved ones matters? My guest post on January 21, 2019 on the Warpworld blog shares my views on the matter.

I also had the opportunity to appear on Canadian writer Colleen Anderson's blog, promoting the next issue of Eye to the Telescope, which I will be guest editing. You can find the link to the blog here, and if it inspires you to submit something to Eye to the Telescope Issue 32: Sports and Games, all the better!

The Saturday Evening Post runs a limerick contest, where they provide an image and invite people to submit a limerick to go with it. I've been a runner-up a couple of times, but was thrilled to get the nod for top spot for the September/October 2018 contest. You can see the winning limerick, and the image that inspired it, here:

In January, I received my print copy of Third Wednesday, Volume XII, No. 1. This particular issue included two of my offerings, "Lost at Sea" (inspired by the orca whale that refused, for a time, to give up its dead calf), and "Canoe Trip, Massasauga Provincial Park". 

Nomadic Delirium's January 2019 Spaceports and Spidersilk included "Dorvan cuisine", a speculative poem.

Coming Soon
Though I only have a few pieces scheduled to come out in February (poems in the print and online versions of Scifaikuest), I have some interesting items coming out later in the year that I'll share a little later.

What I'm Working On
One of the reasons I retired at my earliest opportunity is to reduce stress. In line with that, I've tried to give myself more lead time with writing projects, so it's not always a last-minute scramble. To that end, I'm working on some stories right now with May and June submission dates, as well as re-furbing some of my past story ideas for re-submission to other markets.

Also still trying to exercise the poetry muscle, and from time to time digging into the research I did for my never-completed Master's thesis to see if some sort of non-fiction project might emerge from that.

Till next time...

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

January 2019 update

New releases

I had the honour of having a non-fiction piece included in the "Heart and Humanity" section of Relationship Blogger. The piece is entitled "My Grandmother's Legacy", and it includes a black-and-white photo of my mom and I when I was about a year old. Here's the link:

Passages, an anthology that includes two pieces previously published in New Myths,  a short story entitled "Roxy" and a poem, "Fidelus Reinvented", came out in December, 2018. Information can be found here:

Canadian author Edward Willett was kind enough to send me a review copy of his novel Worldshaper. My review appeared on The Future Fire's web site:

I also had a short item about a milkweed seed collection activity I participated in included in the Norfolk Field Naturalists' newsletter and web site:

What I'm Working On

Right now I'm polishing up some non-fiction pieces for submission. There are a few short story ideas in the works as well, with an eye on January and February 2019 deadlines.

Till next time...