To celebrate a year since my first re-engagement with Smashwords and ebook publishing, I’ve updated my dieselpunk story “Deadstick”. It’s got a new cover, and is combined with my steam/diesel-punk story “How Do You Like These Heights”. Combined with that, it’s also available as a print book. And a new blurb to go with that. I’ve been working on upgrading my blurbs to be a little more punchy. How’s this?
Hank’s scorching across the California sky in a race to save his son. The afterburners are overheating and Sally Jean is tearing apart around him. At 55,000 feet.
A dieselpunk story by Sean Monaghan, author of Pan Am 617 Heavy. Includes bonus story “How Do You Like These Heights”.
One of the Static Movement anthologies I’ve been editing is now complete and available from Amazon. This is a collection of (mostly) horror stories from a group of talented writers – some new and some familiar to readers of Static Movement anthologies. From danger in space, to crazed physicians, to abandoned wards and standup comedians, the anthology covers a lot of territory. Hospitals seem to provide a fertile ground for writers – after all these institutions are where were often at our most vulnerable and also have to be at our most trusting. There was a little space at the end there, so I managed to sneak one of my one stories in – “Finding Keys” is a flash fiction story originally published in MicroHorror in 2010 – click on the link if you want a little taste of the anthology.
Buy the anthology from Amazon! It’s $14.99, plus shipping (it seems there are some “used” copies already available for $48.00 plus shipping, which seems pretty odd to me… it’s a P.O.D., just released: how could there possibly be any time for it to become used? And why buy it for $48.00? The world just gets stranger).
I still have two anthologies open for submissions at Static Movement: Dieselpunk, and A Butterfly in China – self-explanatory titles, I hope. If you’ve got a story that might fit in those, send it along (guidelines are at the links. These are for-the-love anthologies).
Perhaps in a little contradiction to my posts over the last couple of days, I’ve put my literary story “Canyon Rim” up through Triple V. The story is not pulp. It is literary, as much as I write literary pieces. There is a story to it (a man’s search for safety), but it is perhaps as much an exercise in voice. It’s written with a focus on language and rhythm. Have I succeeded? I hope so.
I tutor for a university course in literary fiction and some of the tenents include ideas such as “fiction’s only rule is that it must compel the reader”. As a literary course, it’s focus is as much on language as on story – the idea that we do thirst for language and that the nuances of skilled writers can tantalise and draw us forward with deft and bold touches.
I do admire literary writers and their skill with language. Too often, though, it seems that the cleverness with language becomes too much the concern and that compelling aspect is lost (on me, at least). I like a balance: strong and articulate language that remains readable, with a true story and engaging characters.
Canyon Rim is perhaps as close as I will come with literary works, though I have a few others up my sleeve that will likely show up over time. Squeezed out in between the pulp (if that makes any sense).
Here’s the opening
Ernie Freiden had been born to a Canadian father and an Australian mother. Both had been vacationing through the national parks of Utah and Colorado when they met in 1982. Shirley had quickly abandoned the German tourist she’d been traveling with, and taken up with Thomas, in Moab, near Arches National Park. The German, Shirley later told Ernie, though through into his adult life he heard different and increasingly unlikely versions of the story, had flown back to Germany, almost immediately, and years later had been crushed to death in a museum accident by a part of the Berlin wall he was helping to put on display after the reunification.
Thomas, Ernie’s father, had quickly (though not as quickly as the German’s departure from U.S. soil) had his name abbreviated to Tom, and complained little about that, after all Shirley was as decisive a woman as Tom had ever encountered and what was a slight adjustment to his name in comparison to her company?
The story is scheduled for publication in the Static Movement anthology Sleepwalkin’ and Picklockin’ sometime in 2012 and I’m grateful to editor Chris Bartholomew for releasing it to Triple V so it might garner a few readers in the meantime.
My story “Imaginary Maid Forgets She Is Late For A Banquet” appears in the Static Movement print anthology, Alternate Dimensions, just published. It’s available now at the PillHill Book Shoppe and should be on Amazon soon.
It seems that anytime you like you can add “punk” to a word and create a new literary genre – that’s kind of cool. A.J. French has put together this cool anthology of monk stories. My own – Suitcase Nuke – is an action-driven sci-fi thriller (as I hope the title suggests). The book is available at Amazon.
Staring across Schema Menovanni’s shoulder, Gerry looked through the narrow window at the snowy Pyrenees. He glimpsed one of the eagles, wings spread, head fixed then darting as it sought prey.
“Are you listening to me, Brother Mitchell?” the Schema said.
Gerry turned to Menovanni’s face, wondering how it had become so very lined. He’d never seen the old man change his expression from neutral. His outward elderly calm perhaps belied a vexed youth. As the oldest monk in Sopphoreo, no one knew his history. “I am listening, Schema,” Gerry said.
Editor A.J. French is doing a great job of promoting the book, with review copies going out, print ads and fliers. It’s also available at the Pill Hill bookstore.
There’s a good roster of authors here – nice to be sharing the table of contents with people like Joe Jablonski, Dave Fragments, A.J. himself, and others. John R. Fultz has a good overview of the book and his story at his blog.
My hard (?) sci-fi story “Bergamot Silhouetted” is out now in the Static Movement anthology Unquiet Earth. Yes, this is collection of zombie stories (just look at that cover), and yes, mine includes zombies, eventually. At $17 from Amazon, with dozens of stories – it’s a collection of flash fiction, ie, all under 1000 words (mine is 998) – it’s a bargain. Here’s the opening paragraphs of my story:
Corey stared through the Astoria’s viewport at the battered Bergamot. Years amongst explosion debris, and tidal stresses from the gas giant system, and from swollen and pocked Bellatrix, made her look like a lump of dead coral. The ship seemed modular though the briefing said she was a bulk carrier.
“Lover,” Luese said. “Nearly time for the briefing.”
“I never thought you’d notice me,” he said, staring at the shard that had once been a spaceship.
“Well, you are blocking the viewport.”
Corey dropped back to the bunk. “I meant the whole trip. I’ve been watching you since we left Mintaka.”
My action-thriller dieselpunk piece “Deadstick” is the lead story in the Oil anthology from Static Movement, available now at Amazon. Would you risk your career and a pricey prototype aircraft for a slim chance to rescue someone? Here are the opening paragraphs:
Hank pushed Sally-Jean over the crest and slammed on the afterburners. He’d logged more hours strapped into her snug cockpit than in the rest of the test planes put together. The snub-nosed Lockheed felt like she was a part of him. Some of the guys at Ridgecrest were starting to make lewd comments, asking when the wedding was.
He didn’t mind. What they didn’t know was the sheer bliss of pointing her heavy ass at the ground and shunting her into the stratosphere at six-gees, then bending her around, butterfly-like, into a parabolic arc, cutting the engine and letting her float fifty thousand feet down before re-igniting and pulling up, all sense of butterfly gone, screaming along fifty feet above the desert floor. He didn’t need the amphetamines they sometimes offered around, Sally-Jean kept him alert and hopped-up all he needed. She always came back with an empty tank.
My thanks to editor Marty Zeigler for taking the story – and for working with me on finding a great title.
As well as Dieselpunk, I’m editing two more anthologies for Static Movement.
Hospital is an anthology about scary hospitals. Think crazed doctors, abandoned asylums, body parts coming to life and so on. This is meant as a horror anthology, but I will look at other speculative genres (and even a literary story or two)
A Butterfly in China: stories of the butterfly effect. This is an anthology about where a tiny change can have a huge impact on an outcome – think about the time you missed that bus by just a moment, went to a diner to wait for the next bus, spilled your coffee and met the love of your life… or something like that. Or, perhaps, how some incremental shift causes disaster. This is a speculative fiction anthology – horror, sci-fi, fantasy and so on. Time travel is popular for this concept, and that’s fine, but I’m keen to see stories that go in other directions too.
As with other Static Movement anthologies, these are non-paying. Click on the titles for full submission details.
My story “I Just Had To Come Down Here Once” appears in Static Movement’s Serial Killers story anthology.
What if a serial killer had to provide a loved family member with a mercy killing? This was a challenging story to write – it’s hard to write a lead character who is so despicable, yet ought to engage the reader’s emotions and empathy.