Odds And Updates

Bloody Hell. A month since anybody heard a peep from me. Depression is a hell of a thing. Still, I have not been idle.

Writing

I’ve written a few new things, one of which has been rejected by three different editors. Pooh bears. But this year hasn’t been all bad news on the writing front. I’ve gotten an invite to submit to an anthology, which is nice. Not a guaranteed sale, of course, but it’s a good feeling to be included in an “inner circle”, so to speak. Also, one of my stories is under contract with a publisher. Basically that means they’ve got “dibs” on it and we’ve agreed to the sort of rights they’d be buying. Being new to this business, I’m not sure how much more I can share. I’m not expecting to hear anything more on it until closer to Halloween, as it’s that kind of story. I will most certainly update this site and blab about it on Twitter once I have more details.

Chaos

Our corgi-bear is hanging tough. His last three checkups with the oncologist have gone well. The air flow out of the infected nostril is strong and there are no signs of the tumor returning yet. His health has hit a few snags, though. We found a large mass on his belly the other week. The vet took of sample from it and it’s apparently just fatty tissue, but we need to keep an eye on it. Also, Chaos now refuses to go up or down stairs and he appears to have an odd swaying in his hips. Our regular vet was afraid that the tumor had caused neurological damage, but we got confirmation today that it’s not that. He most likely has developed either a herniated disk or is in the early stages of degenerative disk disease. He’s on some anti-inflammatory drugs and we’ve started doing exercises with him for range of motion. Also some heat therapy and massage. He’s lost none of his energy or zest for life. He’s just having a hard time moving around right now. Hopefully we can correct it.

Beer (because it gets its own heading on my site)

The Tipsy Techie was gracious enough to let me review another beer for her. You can read it here. Also, I’m planning on bringing a batch of To the Black with me to this year’s Steampunk Empire Symposium. I haven’t heard yet if there is going to be a home brew contest again this year (I won last year’s), but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have good beer on hand.

That’s it for now. I hope to have more news soon.

Update on Chaos and Metastasis is on Sale

Chaos went in for his weekly checkup with the oncologist yesterday. She was amazed at his recovery. His mouth and tongue are 100% healed, and most of the hair loss has finished. Also, he got a little bit of airflow back through his right nostril. He looks so good, in fact, that she rescheduled his next checkup for next month. However she left the feeding tube in as a precaution, even though he’s only getting his meds and a bit of water through it now.

Around the home his behavior has definitely brightened. His appetite came back with a vengeance. He’s back to his old tricks of dancing between my legs while I cook and sniffing in the garbage can. On Saturday the wife and I decided to take the dogs for a walk. Chaos did great. He bounded along beside us, stopping only to do his you-know-what. When we got home, we figured he’d be exhausted. Instead, he picked up a ball and wanted to play fetch. He hasn’t wanted to play since the weekend after he had the biopsy performed. Yet there he was, running and jumping with an energy we hadn’t seen in a long time. My wife teared up she was so happy. I was so inspired that I wrote over 4500 words that day, finishing up a story that had been percolating in my head for weeks.

In other news, WolfSinger Publications is holding a sale for the holidays. All their titles are 25% off, including Metastasis. Details can be seen here: http://wolfsingerpubs.com/HappyHolidays.html. As you know, Metastasis is a very important anthology for me. Its theme hits close to home for my family. Over 60% of all proceeds from the sale of Metastasis are being donated to the American Cancer Society.

If you have already bought Metastasis, thank you so much! Please take a few moments and write an honest review someplace like Goodreads or Amazon.com. Small publishers rely on the word of mouth generated by reviews to make sales.

Here’s hoping that the year finishes on a strong note for me. Since I’m feeling so motivated I think I’m going to brew a batch of my porter this weekend. I call it “To the Black”. It’s a Firefly inspired porter where I use ginger in place of finishing hops. It makes for great holiday drinking.

For the Love of Chaos

I tuned out the techno-babble coming from the doctor’s mouth and down the phone line. 

“Pay attention,” a voice inside my head spoke, “this is important.”

I paced across my kitchen and looked out the back door again, trying to recall what I was looking for. “No. He’s not talking to me. He’s talking to someone else.”

“No,” the voice said. “This is happening to YOU. Your dog is dying.”

Continue reading

Press Release for Metastasis

 WolfSinger Publications is pleased to announce the upcoming release of

METASTASIS: An Anthology to Support Cancer Research.

“Walk with us.” -Jay Lake

 Walk with us as we explore the world of cancer as seen through a speculative fiction lens. Hold our hands while we venture into the world of what-ifs. Take a journey at our side as we experience the full spectrum of what cancer has to offer. The light, the darkness.

Within these pages you’ll meet a woman who adores her cancer as a lover, another who sees it as her ticket to immortality. We’ll meet a boy willing to do anything to save his mother and another with superpowers. There’s a witch who uses magic to fight against the beast ravaging her friend’s body, a cat whose capacity for love is unparalleled, a damaged musician, aliens, a goddess butterfly and so much more.

These are not easy stories to read. This is not a comforting collection that will wipe your fears away and make everything all right. It’s not that kind of book. These stories will make you cry, but they’ll also make you laugh. They’ll touch you and stir emotions. These stories aren’t all fun, but they are important. All of them.

Edited by Rhonda Parrish, this extraordinary collection of speculative fiction revolves around the theme of cancer. Including work by award-winning and bestselling authors including Jay Lake and Kevin J. Anderson, these 26 stories and poems tell tales of pain and hope, love and loss, fear and strength.

Cancer scares us. There is so much we don’t know about it, but it’s out there, waiting to strike. This anthology attempts to strike back by supporting research that will develop new treatments and, eventually, find a cure.

WolfSinger Publications, the editor and contributors combined are donating a total of 62.5% of all proceeds to the American Cancer Society.

Metastasis is scheduled for release on Oct 15th, 2013. It will be available through Amazon.com and other online retailers, and can also be ordered through local bookstores.

Metastasis

Edited by Rhonda Parrish

Print ISBN: 978-1-936099-54-2

Print Price: $14.95

eBook Price: $6.95

 

 

 

For more information please contact the publisher at editor@wolfsingerpubs.com

My Summer Vacation by Stephen Lickman, Age 40

If you’re into nerdy stuff and feel like there is no place you can go to fit in, you really need to head to Indianapolis when GenCon is in session. I’ve been going off and on since the late 90’s, when the wife and I were hooked on Legend of the Five Rings and the con was still being held in downtown Milwaukee. The past two years I’ve gone with a group of my buddies (the wife, like me, has long since lost her love of L5R and no other game has capture her imagination). However it was just this year that I learned that there is a whole other side of GenCon, the Writer’s Symposium. Continue reading

The Suffocating Shock of Reality

I’ve mentioned the novella I’d been working on a few times on this webpage. I’ve also mentioned that I was using it as the basis for a novel. At one point I even wrote that I thought it was the best thing that I’d ever written. However I knew there were problems with it. I could sense them with each rewrite I did, but having lived so close with the story for so long, couldn’t pin them down. So when the opportunity to send the manuscript to a professional editor came along, I jumped at it.  Continue reading

Metastasis

The next time you are in a crowded place, whether it is your place of work, the mall, or your friend’s BBQ, try the following thought exercise. Turn to your left and take a look at the person directly next to you. Then look at the person directly to your right. Then think of this: during your lifetimes, one of the three of you will suffer from cancer. That’s not some crazy “what if?” idea. It’s a statistical fact. Actually, it’s worse for men.  For guys the ratio is closer to one in two.

My family, like so many others, has felt the touch of this deadly disease. Continue reading

Why Kickstarters Matter

I’m on my way out the door to work, but before I left I wanted to say some quick words about a pair of kickstarter projects that should be on your radar.

1) What Fates Impose: Tales of Divination– this is a collection of short stories that will be published by  Alliteration Ink and edited by Nayad A. Monroe. It will feature tales from folks like Tim Waggoner, Lucy A. Snyder, Sarah Hans, and Maurice Broaddus. Steven Saus’s main goal with this Kickstarter is to raise enough money to pay these artists professional rates. If stretch goals are reached, more stories and artwork will be added to the collection.

2) Time Traveled Tales: A Speculative Fiction Anthology– this project’s goal is to reprint and enhance the original collection, which received a very short print run for last year’s Origins Game Fair. The collection contains stories from my friends, Sarah Hans and Steven Saus, along with Timothy Zahn, Michael A. Stackpole, and Jean Rabe. It is a great collection of stories that truly deserves more exposure. Also, a portion of the profits for each book sold will go towards charities devoted to improving literacy.

You may be thinking, “Why do you give a crap about these projects? You don’t have a story in either one of them.” The literary world is changing at a very rapid pace. You don’t need me to tell you that. Brick and mortar books shops are vanishing from the landscape. And with the advent of e-publishing, markets that pay professional rates and/or promote writers are drying up. Are you, like me, just starting out as a genre writer? Go peruse Duotrope for a bit, then come back and tell me how many publishers are paying an advance or any money at all.

Not bloody many, right? Publishers like Alliteration Ink and Silence in the Library are trying to bridge the gap between the old publishing models and the new e-paradigm. And they’re trying to do that by providing quality products without screwing the artist. If this anthology does well enough, then the next anthology may be able to pay professional rates, too. The more paying markets that are out there, especially ones that are open to new writers, the better off we are all going to be.

Also, have you read Sidekicks!? Did you look at the list of writers for What Fates Impose? The stories and writers are diverse, and I’m not just talking about the genres. Look at the current state of the SFWA. Perceptions need to change. There are a few publishing houses that are working towards that. Most of them are in the realm of small press, and unfortunately their projects don’t get much attention. Alliteration Ink is one of the good guys.

I really gotta go. But, pretty please, with sugar on top, look into each of these projects. Support them!