I received notice that my story “Safe Haven” has been accepted for the anthology These Vampires Don’t Sparkle. It’s a measure of the impact of the Twilight series on vampire lore and our culture in general that such a title immediately tells the reader so much about the vampire stories included in the anthology. My “Safe Haven” story is about friendship. When Foxfire, a newly turned vampire goes off to find his own kind and stops checking in, his non-vampire artist friend goes in search of him. And it’s fortunate that he does since some old nests are extraordinarily unfriendly to newbies. This will be the first publication of my characters Foxfire and Chapman who populate a number of unpublished novels and short stories. Despite the rampant vampirism, this is actually a comparatively light Chapman story. Once he becomes demon-possessed, all his tales become dark, dark, dark.
Today I received a link from editor Alex Shvartsman to a great review of Coffee: 14 Caffeinated Tales of the Fantastic, an anthology that appeared last December. My story, “From the Shores of Tripoli,” was one of several cited in the Word of the Nerd review. My favorite sentence: “Jonathan Shipley penned a masterwork for there to be a range of interpretive options.” For the full review, check out Word of the Nerd at http://www.wordofthenerd.com/coffee
Volume 28 of the Sword and Sorceress fantasy anthology series went live at the beginning of November, and I’m just now catching up with reality. The book is now available in trade paperback, Kindle, and Nook formats. This volume has my story “Dead Salt,” a sequel to last year’s story about a young exorcist finding her place in the world. When your talent is dealing with vengeful spirits, finding one’s place is not an easy task. “Dead Salt” (and other stories) and be found at http://www.amazon.com/dp/1938185315/elisawater-20 .
The Kindle edition of Phobos Magazine’s zugzwang issue is now available on Amazon for $1.00. PDF and print editions are still coming. My story “Under Two Moons” in this issue with the protagonist forced to make a bad decision because no good options are available. Click here to find this on Amazon
“Grandma on Her Rocking Chair,” the dead-relatives-on-the-stairs story, is now available. Strange Lucky Halloween is out from Whortleberry Press and can be ordered at http://www.lulu.com/shop/jean-goldstrom/strange-lucky-halloween/paperback/product-21183612.html. And there’s more news . . . Phobos Magazine that publishes weird tales in Philadelphia has accepted “Under Two Moons” for its zugzwang-themed issue. Now zugzwang is an interesting word, a term less German than chess. It refers to having to move when there are no good options available and your move will only worsen your position. That’s what the Phobos editors wanted for this issue of the magazine — protagonists forced to make impossible decisions where there’s no good outcome in sight. My science-fiction story follows a low-level diplomat who is thrust into an interplanetary murder investigation that gets worse and worse as the facts become clearer. This issue should be out soon.
I heard back from the anthology Coffee: Caffeinated Tales of the Fantastic published by UFO (Unidentified Funny Objects). They are accepting from me a tale called “From the Shores of Tripoli” that originally appeared in 1996, the third story I ever had published. I remember one friend read this back then and commented how much she enjoyed the “ghost story.” This was a surprise since I hadn’t written a ghost into the story, although there is obviously ambiguity with one of the characters. I wonder how people will read it this time round. The reprint market is fairly limited and I am delighted for the chance to bring out a vintage Shipley story a second time. Getting paid two times for the same piece isn’t half bad either.
Third Flatiron’s LOST WORLDS, RETRACED is now out in Kindle edition and available for $2.99 here). This anthology contains my story “Gods and Emperors” that explores the concept of lowercase “g” gods in a far-futuristic society with preter-human beings. The same character who is working through the divinity questions — Ydaire — is also currently visiting England as the protagonist of my 140,000-word manuscript SIREN’S CALL that I just sent over to Tor-UK for consideration. The Tor editors promise a decision within 12 weeks, which is lightning-fast for novels. One fervently hopes that it is not only a fast decision, but also a favorable one.
Yesterday — the last day of July — I spontaneously decided to submit a story to the Whortleberry Press Halloween anthology. I hadn’t planned to submit anything, even though Whortleberry has published three other stories of mine in previous books (Strange Halloween, for example), but because the end of July was the deadline, I found myself thinking, What can I send? I settled on a quirky, short — barely a thousand words — story entitled “Grandma on Her Rocking Chair” that revolves around unseen dead relatives going up and down the staircase at Grandmother’s house. Resetting the time to October 31 was all that was needed to make this into a Halloween story. In truth, all those dead relatives actually made more sense in the context of All-Hallows. Then I sent the story off for consideration. A mere three hours later — fastest time ever — I received back a message from the editor, saying they liked it and wanted to buy it for the anthology. So another short story sale, this one unplanned and triggered by a sudden urge to meet a Halloween deadline in July.
I’ve heard back that Third Flatiron Publications wants to buy my story “Gods and Emperors” for its LOST WORLDS e-anthology! These are same folks who bought “Fate’s Finger” for their PLAYING WITH FIRE anthology earlier this year (Kindle edition available for $2.99 here). To make things even cozier, “Fate’s Finger” is the direct sequel to “Gods and Emperors” in terms of story-arc development. Or I suppose since “Fate” was published first, it would be more accurate to call “Gods and Emperors” a prequel, even though it was written first. While there is world-saving going on in this story, it’s central question is actually “god” without the capital G. How is a good Catholic girl supposed to respond to a interstellar culture that regards its greater-than-human ruler as a god? She wrestles with this question in both “Gods and Emperors” and “Fate’s Finger.”
LOST WORLDS should be out as an e-publication in September of 2013. These people have a fast production schedule.
I received word that another short story has sold to, this one with the unlikely title of “Charnelhouse.” It will be part of the science fiction anthology Far Orbits scheduled to be released as a trade paperback and ebook in April of 2014. The story might also have been called “Catacomb 473” because that is where the action takes place on the faraway world of Necropolis. There are two interlaced themes. One is what to do when you’re investigating a catacomb and things go weird (always an awkward situation), and the second is how to cope when all your in-laws have PhD’s and won’t let you forget it. This is my third short fiction sale this year with a dozen more submissions still out there.