Miscellanea, plus Current Projects

A roundup of the weird, the interesting, and whatever else has caught my attention.

Stories

An anthology of Czech Speculative Fiction, edited by Julie Novakova for last year’s EuroCon, is available as a free download. Old news, but good news.

I’ve been on an odd movie watching run here of late, sparked by an email from an Aussie friend. First up was Last Cab to Darwin about a cabbie who learns his cancer is incurable. After seeing a news report about an assisted suicide machine, he drives to Darwin (Northern Territory, Australia) to end his life “with dignity” in his own way. Ok, this movie is only peripherally SciFi, but it was a good movie and well worth watching whether you’re interested in this issue or not.

The next movie was These Final Hours, another Aussie film about one man’s journeys through the final hours of the Earth. It starts off a little rough, but eventually becomes a touching vignette of the man’s relationship with a young girl he saves.

Finally, I watched Spectral, a SciFi Horror populated by some really great actors and a more than decent screenplay. It’s only available on NetFlix at the moment.

On the reading end, I picked up the first issue of Phantaxis a while back. I particularly liked “In Glass” by Richard M. Ankers. “How Stanley Spencer Painted the Cookham Resurrection” by Chris Barnham was also interesting.

I’m reading two anthologies right now, Aliens: Bug Hunt ed. by Jonathan Mayberry and American Supernatural Tales ed. by S.T. Joshi. I’ve been working my way through the latter for more than a year now, and the former for about a month. I like anthologies for exactly that reason: They can be picked up and put down at will. While I’m finished with neither, I feel quite comfortable recommending them both to fans of short form fiction in these genres.

For Authors

I’ve been following long-time writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch‘s series on branding for authors over the past few weeks. Kris is no-nonsense in her approach and folds multiple real life examples from a variety of businesses into the narrative, which brings an added layer of meaning to her conversation.

Focus: Current Projects

When I first put together the list of stories (above), I strongly considered focusing this part of the post on self-determination and the right to die. My brain isn’t quite up to the task, or perhaps I simply don’t have the heart to formulate a cogent argument one way or the other.

Or maybe, after publishing a tribute to my mother in honor of what would’ve been her sixty-ninth birthday, I’m too emotionally drained to properly delve into the issues surrounding self-determination’s true reach.

So instead, here’s a brief glimpse of what I’m working on right now.

I finished writing the first draft of a short story called “Such a Good Wife” earlier this week. In it, newlywed Zandra discovers a locked door in the home she shares with her zookeeper husband. This story is quite firmly in the Weird Fiction category. In fact, when my editor called to share his thoughts on it, he said he was going to rename me “Dawnie Poe.” Since I was aiming for creepy, I took the moniker for the compliment it was.

The idea for “Such a Good Wife” came to me a couple of months ago. When my son and I started fiddling around with founding a short form fiction magazine, I originally slated this story as a free teaser for the mag. We’ll see where it ends up, but for now, it’s in the resting phase between completed first draft and second draft rewrites.

One of my top priorities right now is finishing the stories intended for Romancing the Weird, the anthology intended as a free read for subscribers to my newsletter, The Eldritch Files. The first draft of the very first story is nearly finished. In “Intersections,” a young woman envisions a decision-tree-like future each time she approaches a major crossroads in her life, particularly when said crossroads involves the man she was meant to love.

“Intersections” has obvious predestination themes, although that’s less the focus than the main character’s struggle to come to grips with what she sees as the inevitable outcome of her visions. It was also inspired by events and people in my own life. I may get into that in a behind-the-scenes post when the story is finished. Three more scenes should do the trick, then I’ll pass it through my editorial/finishing process before sending it off to readers.

The second story for Romancing the Weird will likely be “A Mutual Feeling,” in which a woman discovers she’s a minor character in an FPS video game. This one is more than halfway done. I’ve been working on it off and on for quite a while, and put it down to let it ferment while I worked on more pressing stories. While I originally envisioned the stories for Romancing the Weird to all be short (i.e. under 7500 words), both “Intersections” and “A Mutual Feeling” have now reached the point where I can be certain they’ll be longer stories.

I strongly dislike setting firm release dates for stories still in progress, and I’m not going to break that rule now. I will, however, encourage interested readers to go ahead and sign up for my newsletter now so that when these stories are released, a notice will arrive directly in one’s inbox.

“Intersections” and “A Mutual Feeling” are just two of the stories planned for the subscribers-only anthology. I’m not ready to announce the others yet (a couple are little more than ideas), but my hope is for Romancing the Weird to contain, when it’s completed, at least five or six stories.

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