Month: January 2016

January has been sort of awful. In addition to all those famous people dying, some people I cared a whole lot more about also left us. Januaries are often like that – sick people get through the holidays, but once the new year starts, the energy to face another long stretch just isn’t there. My wife and step-daughter and I did the worst kind of traveling earlier this month, and I hope not to see a plane or wear a tie for a good long while.

On a brighter note, January has actually been pretty good for me in publication terms. First, Plasma Frequency published “Fylgia in the City”, a silly little apocalyptic faerie story, in their first issue back from forced hiatus. Now, a local podcast called The Overcast has produced a fantastic audio version of The Ghost Lottery, a story of mine that has been seeking a good home for quite a while.

Listen to “The Ghost Lottery” at The Overcast

I’m very pleased with how this one came out. J.S. Arquin did a magnificent job with the narration and production, making my words sound much better than I could. At the end of the recording, I prove that point by chiming in with a little story-behind-the-story afterword. If you’re looking for a speculative fiction podcast to keep up with (and to support on Patreon), give this show a listen. Not only do they do a great job, but they pay their authors pretty well, especially for a podcast.

Overall, I would still like to punch January in its stupid, stupid face, but seeing these two stories find their way into markets that I genuinely like does help put a pinch of silver in the lining. And since I only published one story last year (in what was otherwise probably my favorite year ever), this is one department in which 2016 will certainly end up ahead.

After a pretty tepid 2015, in publishing terms, the new year starts pretty well for me, with two stories coming out in January. The first, which launched on New Years Day itself, is called “Fylgia in the City”, a fairy tale (ish) that I wrote quite a long time ago. This is the rare story of mine that has a path to publication story I actually think is worth telling.

I’m a spreadsheet geek. With a few exceptions, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth collating into rows and columns. I’ve kept a record of my story submissions since day 1, now four years back, and it’s grown into a list of hundreds. One of the benefits of this is that I can look back and see how many submissions it generally takes for me to find a good home for one of my stories.

In Fylgia’s case, it was 7. Six markets passed on it before Plasma Frequency, a magazine I’ve worked with before, said yes. Unfortunately, for everyone involved, things were about to get quite bumpy for PM. Running a fiction market is never exactly a fountain of profit, and it’s the kind of business where even a small problem can derail things pretty seriously. What happened to PM was not a small problem. A case of bank fraud sent the magazine into an impossible financial situation, and they were forced to shut down. I was sad, not only because I lost a good home for Fylgia, but mostly because good fiction markets are hard to come by, and it’s a genuine tragedy when one disappears. I think in the back of my head, I always knew PM would be back at some point, or at least I’d like to think that, to excuse my laziness in not sending the story back out anywhere else.

Anyway, long story slightly shorter, Plasma Frequency ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to get back on it feet, and relaunched on January 1st as a quarterly science fiction and fantasy magazine. The first issue of the renewed Plasma Frequency is out, and to my great relief and pleasure, Fylgia in the City is still a part of it. Each story is free to read online for one week, while the whole issue is available either in Kindle or print form at Amazon.

This story wouldn’t exist without a fantastic book that inspired and informed it – Nancy Arrowsmith’s Field Guide to the Little People, which introduced me to the Fylgia, a fae species I hadn’t heard of before and one that I immediately knew I wanted to write about.