Short month, happy reading

Okay, so I missed the end of February as it zoomed by (lousy short month!), but better late than never, here are your February publications by Horrific Miscuers:

• In Cat Rambo’s “Love’s Footsteps,” published in Daily Science Fiction, a wizard preserves his heart in order not to age, then regrets it.

• The month also saw audio reprints of two of Cat’s stories: “Clockwork Fairies” is in Steampunk Specs, a compilation of 8 hours worth of steampunk, including stories by Christopher Barzak, Eileen Gunn, Margo Lanagan, Nick Mamatas, Cherie Priest, and Michael Swanwick. “RealFur” from Near+Far, a story about the best fur coat ever, is on Bizarrocast.

• Sandra M. Odell’s “David Milner Is” is in Tales to Terrify. It’s a story of what it means to be a good man.

• And, back to Cat Rambo, she’s been nominated for a Nebula Award! Check out “Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain,” which appeared in her story collection Near + Far.

Hear That? #19: Algernon & Laidlaw

Picture of President Grover Cleveland.Crossposted from Sandra M. Odell’s Write or Gnorw:

Hi there! Welcome to another installment of HEAR THAT?, a review of fine audio fiction on the internet. I know there are any number of quality audio fiction podcasts out there, so if you happen across one that you think I might like then drop me a line and I’ll check it out. This time around we have two stories from two very different podcasts, not about heroes but about real people.

CAST OF WONDERS #66 brings us “The Egg Game” by S.R. Algernon, read by Graeme Dunlop. S.R. Algernon began reading science fiction at an early age, and honed his writing in North Carolina. He currently resides in Singapore. Graeme hails from Australia, is the host of CAST OF WONDERS, and can be heard on many a fiction podcast.

“The Egg Game” is the story of a family vacation at The Sun Spot, a resort just outside of Earth’s atmosphere and certainly not what the main character hoped when his parents agreed to a vacation in space. The character and his younger brother devise a game involving falling eggs in the variable-gravity lift tubes, and an elaborate point system that takes a wrong turn when matters go from boring to worse. I kept waiting for “something to happen”, but it didn’t take long to realize the joy of this story is the realistic portrayal of young teens looking for a bit of fun. The action comes in the form of the science behind their game, and the eventual solution to the sudden crisis. The main character is intelligent, likeable, and knows he’s definitely in for it if his parents ever find out what’s going on. This is a great story for pre-teen and teen readers who are just dipping their toes into the waters of good, short science fiction.

Next we have PSEUDOPOD #319, “Cell Call” by Marc Laidlaw, read by George Cleveland. Marc is a writer, gamer, thinker, and game designer who currently works at Valve Software. George lives in Tamworth, New Hampshire, and serves as the Executive Director of the Gibson Center for Senior Services in North Conway. And as an added bonus, he is the grandson of President Grover Cleveland.

“Cell Call” is the story of a man attempting to manage his new cell phone while finding his way home in the rain. Flustered by the phone, the weather, and his wife’s irritation, he misses his turn and ends up someplace unexpected. Here is a story about subtle terrors, the kind that curl around you when you think there is nothing wrong. Much like “The Egg Game”, the main character is not a hero, he’s just an ordinary guy who loves his wife, and Laidlaw’s understated use of setting and very realistic dialogue lent itself well to the chill down my spine as the story progressed. Definitely worth the listen.

And that’s a wrap for this installemtn of HEAR THAT? Drop me a line and let me know what you thought. Did you agree with the recommendations? Think I was way off base? Even better, if you liked what you heard with these podcasts, post a comment on the forums for either podcast, or donate a few dollars to keep great fiction alive and well on the web.

That’s all for now, gentle listeners. Until next time, kee your ears open!

Happy 2013, y’all! Here are some HM publications/news to get the year started.

• Sandra M. Odell’s “The Poison Eater” appeared in the anthology Deep Cuts from Evil Jester Press.

• Eliza Hirsch’s story “A Map of the Heart” came out in Con(viction): Anthology of the Con.

“The Passing of Grandmother’s Quilt” by Cat Rambo appeared on Every Day Fiction. It’s a flash piece about the grieving process.

• Issue #16 of Shimmer came out this month, with editing by Keffy R.M. Kehrli.

• January’s issue of The Colored Lens contained stories by TWO miscuers. Kris Millering’s “Those Who Do Not Reap” is about aliens, alien sex, and how stories grow. Emily C. Skaftun’s “A Fairy Tale” is a cautionary tale about firefly hunting, magic, and relationships.

• The stage version of Liz Argall’s “Dear Ms. Moon” was/will be performed January 26th and February 2 as part of Pulp Diction. If you missed the shows you can read or listen to the story.

• And finally, Bloodchildren: Stories by the Octavia E. Butler Scholars, is available now, with stories by ANOTHER TWO miscuers! Not only will you get Caren Gussoff’s new novel start, “Free Bird,” and Erik Owomoyela’s “Steal the Sky,” but the proceeds from the book support the Carl Brandon Society, which helps more awesome people attend Clarion and Clarion West. The anthology is only available until June.

Remember, remember! The month of December!

In all the excitement about the end of the year I kind of forgot that December is also a month. And yet, Miscuers still published things!

• One of them is a book! Sandra M. Odell’s The Twelve Ways of Christmas was released by Hydra House. Publishers Weekly calls it “a bewitching enterprise.”

• Caren Gussof was part of a GalleyCat crew who rewrote the mostest purplest vampire book ever, “Varney the Vampire.” It’s free at

• Caren’s story “Anything Chocolate” is also live now at Toasted Cake. Yum!

• Cat Rambo’s story “Events at Fort Plentitude,” which originally appeared in Weird Tales, was podcastified by Tales to Terrify. It features a frontier rife with fox and snake women, frozen soldiers, and flying demons.

• Emily C. Skaftun’s “The Red Sno-Cones Are Not for Sale” appeared at Every Day Fiction. It’s a “chilling” tale of ice-cream trucks gone bad.

Crit Session Quotes For 12/29/2012

Theater sign for Geek OutIn our last meeting for 2012, we critted stories from Kris Millering, Cat Rambo, and Emily Skaftun. In attendance were Liz Argall, Sarah Hirsch, Tod McCoy, Kris Millering, Erik Owomoyela, Cat Rambo, Vicki Saunders, Emily Skaftun, and Eddie Smith.

Here’s a scattering of what was said, but by request I have not attributed the quotes.

  • If there are monkeys on a planet, we need to know that immediately because we love monkeys!
  • That would really sock it to the tree, so to speak
  • Write a different story. Got it.
  • I wanted more apple magic.
  • I needed more rage on the part of the tree.

Afterwards, we had a joint outing to the theater and saw Geek Out, which included adaptations of “Black Box” by Jennifer Egan; “Instructions: by Neil Gaiman; “The Lifecycle of Software Objects” by Ted Chiang; and “The Unwritten” by Mike Carey, done in collaboration with literature-based music group, The Bushwick Book Club Seattle.

Crit Session Quotes for 12/15/2012

Kids Self PortraitsWelcome to new members Jei Marcade and Rachel Sobel!

We critted stories from Huw Evans, Caren Gussoff, and Tod McCoy. Here’s a scattering of what was said, but by request I have not attributed the quotes.

  • I found this exquisitely disgusting.
  • There are a lot of people with names.
  • Ditto Cat on wanting to be smacked harder.
  • Wow, you guys are really fired up about flour.
  • Land is really judgmental.

Crit Session Quotes for 12/1/2012

Image of a dinosaurWe critted stories from Emily Skaftun and Lily Yu. Here’s a scattering of what was said, but by request I have not attributed the quotes.

  • “We are not dissimilar from a blue lobster.”
  • “There needs to be more murder in the story.”
  • “Here’s MY version of how I would rewrite your story…”
  • “The manic departure from sensible decision making” (describing Seattle encountering a snow storm)
  • “The dinosaurs are such a great metaphor for love.”
  • “So I was like, fuck it, I’ll add some dinosaurs.”

Another month . . .

Another bunch of stories to read! This November has seen:

• Caren Gussoff’s short, “The Moon Illusion,” is at mixer. I could describe it, but you may as well just read it. Go on!

• Sandra M. Odell’s “Dining with Salmoxis” is now up at Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi. It was written from the shadows.

• Emily C. Skaftun’s not-particularly-SF story, “Like Braces for Broken Teeth,” is at Every Day Fiction. Read it to find out what roads eat.

• and, last but not least, Derek Zumsteg’s novelette, “Musici,” is in the latest issue of Electric Velocipede.

Musical Foreplay

I’ve read about music to listen to while you write, but not about the music you listen to in the hours when you are not writing. For me the music I listen to when I’m not writing is more important!

Music with a specific purpose

The novel I’m working right now has many layers of cultural/socio-polical complexity. It’s non-American centered, set in a made up country in Melanesia and has an ensemble cast.

I have a Spotify soundtrack that contains some of the music that resonates with Palamawe, from traditional songs of Papua New Guinea, to Reggaeton, to Thai Rock and Roll, to Pinoy Pop music. Listening to it reconnects me of the complexity of my setting in a way that is fun and easy. It dampens the background radiation of my day to day life and cultural assumptions. It makes me think of what music is missing and if there are voices missing in my story.

I can think about who would be listening to what music and in what circumstances.  It gets me thinking about my characters in new ways while my body is cleaning or exercising. What music do Jack and Bayan argue about? In quieter times did Eva play guitar by the light of a campfire? I chuckle at the idea of Eva playing ukelele as a young woman, the first time I’ve really thought about Eva when she wasn’t a matriarch with a bazillion responsibilities. What’s on Abua’s iPod during the long drives to the FTC compound?

I often can’t listen to this playlist when I’m working on my novel, although that was my original intention. It’s too distracting and eclectic. But I like the way it gets my brain moving through the world in new ways.

Music to say @$#% you world! I have things to say!

They Might Be Giants album for kids Science is Real makes me feel happy. Meet the Elements and The Alphabet of Nations remind me of the diversity and potential of the world. They make me a little moist around the eyeballs and make me want to write stories that inspire that kind of wonder.

Lights Camera Action by Bliss N Esso remind me that you have to keep working. And that even if you ‘make it’ you’ve got to work hard to keep your voice and make the art you love. I love the slogging pace of this song, the rhythm makes me think of putting your shoulder to the plough and pushing.

“You wanna rhyme but are you in it for the long run. ’cause you dream about platinum on this mic, you better wake the f@$k up, it don’t happen over night”

My intelligence rails against any notion of perfect and celebrating drinking culture too much makes me feel queasy.

But I go to Pink so that my lonely rebel self can feel love, community and determination.

People in the Front Row” by Hilltop Hoods makes me happy. It plugs me into the wonderful feeling I aspire towards and seldom get, when you know your words have been of service and have made a connection. I enjoy listening to hiphop play with language. The hiphop I listen to often talks about process, politics, and the struggle to make authentic, fresh art.

What’s your musical foreplay?

For bringing your world to life or for just shaking your hands to the sky and saying I SHALL CREATE! What is the soundtrack you use to hold true to your passions and make you better at chasing your dreams?

Post links to the music you love in the comments or do a blog post about the music that muses you. Share the awesome :-).

Horrific October Publications

Or rather, publications by Horrific Miscuers. They may or may not themselves be horrific.

• “Casanova Clay,” a poem by Liz Argall about dirt, hands and work awaits you at Apex Magazine. 

• Cat Rambo steals the month once again with two (2) ebooks! A SEED ON THE WIND is part of the Fathomless Abyss series, and HALLOWEEN QUARTET is an experiment.

• And Emily C. Skaftun’s “10 Things to Do in Los Angeles After You Die” was published by Every Day Fiction. It’s a zombie love story tourist guide.