Gods and Emperors and Bears . . . oh my!

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.

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Charnel House of Delight

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.

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When Playing With Fire is Good . . .

Another science fiction anthology is which I figure has been released — Playing with Fire from Third Flatiron Anthologies.  This collection features — in the words of its Amazon blurb — “cautionary tales of fires and backfires from botched inventions, culture clashes, evil empires, comets and meteors, Greek gods and vengeful spirits, voracious foodstuffs, zombie children, and, of course, man’s best friend.”  I was trying to determine where on the list my story fits and decided “Fate’s Finger” is either culture clash or evil empire.  It is a tale from my futuristic Imperium that focuses on religious divisiveness, so there is definitely “empire” and definitely a “clash” of ideas, but definitely no zombies.

Playing With Fire can be found here.


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4th Time’s the Charm

I heard back from the Sword & Sorceress people and they are buying a story of mine for Volume 28 of the annual anthology.  This makes four years running that I’ve sold to Sword & Sorceress., which is one of the most prestigious of fantasy anthologies, evidenced by the fact it has been around for 28 volumes.  The story, “Dead Salt,” continues the adventures of Jenna the tavern wench turned exorcist who was also the subject of last year’s story “Grave Gold.”  Next spring the question will be whether to continue this series of stories or to try something fresh for Volume 29.  I’ll have some time to think about that.  The new Sword & Sorceress will be published as print and ebook in November of 2013.

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We’re Number 23,347!

I noticed on my Amazon author stats this week that I reached Best-selling Author #23,347 last Friday.  While that doesn’t look impressive, remember that all my contributing sales are from anthologies that typically don’t sell as well as novels.  And the Best-selling Author list goes down to at least #89,232 because that was where I was last March.  But all these stats are fleeting — updated hourly, according to Amazon — and I see that is true.  I’ve already slipped to #33,804.  Sic transit gloria mundi.  (My Amazon books can be seen at www.amazon.com/author/shipley.)

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Double Delight

This week I had two uplifting moments in the perennial writing struggle.  I heard “congratulations” from Third Flatiron Publishing that wants to include my story “Fate’s Finger” in their Playing With Fire themed anthology.  This is my first sale of the year, breaking a string of 15 rejections since my last sale on November 20 of 2012.  Then just today I heard back from Sword & Sorceress Vol. 28 about the story “Dead Salt” I had submitted the day before (this anthology is known for having one of the fastest response times in the industry).  They aren’t making final decisions until May, but they are holding “Dead Salt” for further consideration, which is a step closer to another sale.  I’ve been published in the last three volumes of Sword & Sorceress, but that’s no guarantee of acceptance.  Every story has to start the process afresh, standing on its own merits before the editors.  But on the writing front, it’s been a good week.

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Hell of a Story

The anthology After Death, edited by Eric Guignard, appeared in print a few days ago.  My contribution to the book is entitled “Like a Bat Out of Hell” and takes place entirely in Dante’s Hell.  Despite the setting, the story manages to be humorous, and I think I deserve extra points for pulling off that unlikelihood.  The anthology can be found at multiple locations, but I recommend checking the offerings at www.amazon.com/author/shipley where this anthology is listed with all the others I have contributed to.

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Triple Shortlisted

As of a few days ago, I have been triple shortlisted.  That’s a good thing.  It means I have three pieces of writing in the final stage of the selection process at various publications.   This third shortlisting came from the Far Orbit sci-fi anthology where I had repeatedly sent in stories and had them rejected during the month of March.  But as the editor put it, “Fifth time is the charm.”  The other short story under final consideration is at Elektrik Milk Bath Press for it’s Urban Fantasy anthology.  And the third member of the shortlist trio is my novel Reichsblood that is being considered by New York publisher Baen Books.  I received that news last summer with the warning that final consideration by their editor-in-chief was a slow process.  That seems to be true.  In the best of worlds, all three of these shortlisted pieces would move on to publication, but there’s no predicting.  Just hoping.

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Valentine Story Sells

I heard back from Whortleberry Press last week, and they want my story “Water Witch” for their 2013 Valentine anthology.  Yes, I know the title sounds more Halloween than Valentine’s Day, but it really does fit the theme.  This is the third story of sold to Whortleberry’s holiday anthologies.  I was in Christmas Angels in 2011 and this year’s recent Strange Halloween.

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Sword & Sorceress XXVII

Sword & Sorceress XXVII, an annual anthology based on writer Marion Zimmer Bradley’s concept of fantasy with a female protagonist, is now released and available.  My story “Grave Gold” on page 36 is the third story in the book.  My sister calls this story dark, and I suppose it is, considering the plot revolves around negotiating with the dead.  But the ending is upbeat, so not so terribly dark.  This series is notable for its use of Roman numerals in the title.  On the lower numbers, that was probably not so unusual, but since the success of the series has now taken it to five-digit Roman numerals with more volumes to come, some people may find it increasingly problematic to read.  The editor has hinted that after volume XXX, they may switch to Arabic numbers.

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