Category Archives: Writing

Readercon 2015

Readercon is almost here! July 9-12, I’ll be in Burlington, MA at one of my favorite local(ish) conventions. As the name implies, Readercon is focused primarily on the literary side of speculative fandom. While a few panels do cross over into other media, it’s mostly all about the written word. I’m only part of one item of official programming this year, a group reading from the upcoming anthology, The Monstrous, edited by Ellen Datlow. The rest of the time, I’ll be attending other panels and readings, trying to resist buying every single book in the dealers’ room, and hanging out and chatting with friends. I hope to see you there!

Friday 8-9pm Group reading from The Monstrous, a forthcoming anthology edited by Ellen Datlow.

Take a terrifying journey with literary masters of suspense, visiting a place where the other is somehow one of us. These electrifying tales redefine monsters from mere things that go bump in the night to inexplicable, deadly reflections of our day-to-day lives. Whether it’s a seemingly devoted teacher, an obsessive devotee of swans, or a diner full of evil creatures simply seeking oblivion, the monstrous is always there—and much closer than it appears.

Ellen Datlow will be introducing several contributors to the anthology, including Peter Straub, A.C Wise, Gemma Files, John Langan, Stephen Graham Jones

Room: Embrace/Empower

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Get Your Glitter On!

Glitter CoverWhen sea monsters rise, when space eels attack, when the world needs saving yet again, who do you call? The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron, of course. Sure, there are other superheroes, but they don’t have half the glitz, the glam, or the style of the Glitter Squadron. To heavily paraphrase the famous quote about Ginger Rogers, they do everything other superheroes do, but  they do it in high heels.

All of which is to say that The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again is now available for preorder! The collection will be out in October, but I’m plotting something extra special to send to folks who do preorder. On a totally selfish level, preorders do help with reviews and convincing bookstores to carry the work, but I also want to send you things! More details on will be forthcoming once I’ve figured out which of my Top Sekrit Plans to deploy.  I promise not send you an envelope full of glitter. Unless you’re into that kind of thing. In which case I WILL TOTALLY SEND YOU AN ENVELOPE FULL OF GLITTER. (You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. If you fully and consensually agree to receive such a thing, I will send you glitter, because glitter is awesome.)

Ahem. Anyway, if reading about queer and trans and cis women (and the occasional scantily-clad cis men) teaming up to save the world, and looking damned good while doing s,o is your kind of thing this is the collection for you. The book is also interspersed with cocktail recipes, so if none of those other things I mentioned are your cup of tea, you can at least get a good buzz on. The stories are a little bit pulpy, a little bit serious, and hopefully a lot bit glitteringly fabulous.

If you want a taste of what you can expect in the collection, you can read the original version of the story that started it all, Operation: Annihilate Mars! Or, Doctor Blood and the Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron, over at Ideomancer.

Saving the world may be hard, thankless work, but that’s no excuse to be anything less than fabulous.

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Giveaway: The Flesh Made Word

FMWFree smut! Get it while it’s hot! Oh, who am I kidding? This one will stay hot indefinitely. Ten writers (including me) writing erotica about writing. What more could you want? The Flesh Made Word is published by Circlet Press, and it’s one of their rare print editions, being a publisher that specializes primarily in ebooks. What makes The Flesh Made Word extra special? There are blank pages for you to write your very own naughty, sensuous, and thrilling tales. All you have to do is comment below (or if you’re particularly shy, send me an email at a.c.wise (at) hotmail (dot) com, and I’ll enter you into the drawing. The winner will be chosen by the power of a Random Number Generator. The giveaway will be open until May 16, 2015.

The contributing authors include A.B. Eyers, Andrea Zanin, Benji Bright, Trish DeVene, Nadine Wilmot, Delilah Bell, Kannan Feng, Sasha Payne, Sunny Moraine, and yours truly. You can read an excerpt of my story at the Circlet website, and while you’re there, maybe pick up another book or two that catches your fancy? If you’re in a listening mood, you can also hear the full text of my story at the Nobilis Erotica podcast.

That’s it. Throw your name in the ring by May 16, 2015, and you might just get lucky. (See what I did there? See?)

 ETA: Random number generator says email entrant MLH is the winner. Thank you everyone who entered!

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Cover Girls

The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron has a cover. Are you ready? It’s an amazing, incredible, wonderful cover and I love it to pieces. I might even go so far as to say it’s fabulous. The cover art is by Staven Anderson, whose portfolio can be found here. You really should click through; there’s some gorgeous work to be found. I couldn’t be happier with the way the cover turned out. I’m still kind of stunned my hyper/flailing description of what I had in mind turned into a real piece of art. That’s the mark of a true professional. So, without further delay, here they are – my fabulous glittering cover girls, ready to kick ass and save the world.

Glitter Cover

I am so, so excited for this collection. Now that it has a cover and an official title, it’s starting to feel real. If all goes according to plan, you should be able to get your very own copy from the wonderful Lethe Press, and other fine retailers, this Fall.

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Giveaway: Whispers from the Abyss

WhispersAbyssOne year is almost over, and a new one is about to begin. What better way to celebrate this transition than with tentacles? Lest Old Gods be forgot… and all that. In the spirit of wishing you all a tentacular New Year, I’m giving away not one, but two copies of Whispers from the Abyss, an anthology full of Lovecraftian madness penned by the likes of Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Nick Mamatas, Tim Pratt & Greg Van Eekhout, Erika Satifka, and me! Drop a note in the comments by January 3rd, and the random number generator will pick a pair of winners. Good luck!

ETA: The random number generator has declared Bogi Takacs and Isabel the winners!

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Award Eligible Fiction 2014

I’ve been rounding up awards-eligibility posts and recommended reading lists from others, and now I’m finally getting around to putting together a post of my own. This was a year of reprints for me, but I did manage to sneak in a few originals. I even have stories eligible in the novelette category! If you’re reading for awards, and you’d like copies of any of the stories that aren’t freely available online for consideration, drop me a note.

Short Stories

Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife – Shimmer #21
Taking the Ghost – Upgraded (Wyrm Publishing)
Matthew, Waiting – Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse (Exile)
And the Carnival Leaves Town – Nightmare Carnival (Dark Horse)

Novelettes

A Game of Cards – Streets of Shadows (Alliteration)
From Stone and Bone, From Earth and Sky – GigaNotoSaurus

There’s a post over at Unlikely Story covering the editorial side of what I did in 2014. Obviously I’m biased, but I think everything published at Unlikely Story in 2014 is well-worth your awards consideration.

In addition to all the usual awards – Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, etc. – I’m eligible for Canadian Awards like the Prix Aurora.

So there you have it. I’ll be putting together a separate post with my favorite reads of 2014 at some point as well.

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Giveaway: Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volume 1

Weird FictionYou like weird things, right? Who doesn’t! So how about a whole book of the very best weird fiction published last year. As the title implies, Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volume 1 is the first in a new series published by Undertow/ChiZine Publications. The inaugural volume was edited by Laird Barron, along with series editor Michael Kelly. Next year’s volume will be edited by Kathe Koja and Michael Kelly. (Authors, take note – vol. 2 is currently open to reprint submissions and that handy link I just pasted will take your straight to the submission page.) The first volume contains works by the likes of Jeffrey Ford, Livia Llewellyn, Sofia Samatar, Jeff VanderMeer, and yours truly. Wanna win a copy? Of course you do!

In order to enter, all you have to do is go to the comments and tell me something weird. For the purposes of this contest, I’m defining weird broadly. It could be a real life uncanny occurrence you can’t explain, a link to a piece of weird fiction, an odd coincidence, or even the lyrics to your favorite Weird Al song. The winner will be chosen by random number generator. The contest ends on Halloween. Get your weird on!

ETA: The random number generator has declared Sara Saab the winner! Thank you all for sharing your wonderful weirdness!

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Notes on a Remake

MEMO
Date: January 18, 2012
From: Thomas Elgin
To: James Heinz
RE: Kaleidoscope

Jimmy, can you please get me a fucking clean copy of this movie? How the hell am I supposed to do a shot-by-shot remake if I don’t even know what the fucking thing looks like? The one you left me is shit, skipping all over the place, audio all fucked up. Jesus fucking Christ. And yes, I fucking know how to use email. I don’t trust it. Just get me a clean copy.

MEMO
Date: February 13, 2012
From: Thomas Elgin
To: James Heinz
RE: Kaleidoscope

The message boards are blowing up. (I told you I know how to use a computer.) Fans are already shitting themselves, and we haven’t even starting casting. How’s that for market research? I’m telling you, Jimmy, we’ve got a goldmine on our hands, presuming we can ever get the fucking thing made.

MEMO
Date: February 28, 2012
From: Thomas Elgin
To: James Heinz
RE: Kaleidoscope

So there was a rumor a while back that Carrie Linden’s still around. Did you know about this? No, of course not, because you would have fucking told me, right? Think we can get her? Cast her as the grandmother or shit? Again, yes, Jimmy, I know there’s no fucking grandmother in the movie, but who cares. The dickweeds who hang out on these message boards will eat it up, I promise.

MEMO
Date: March 8, 2012
From: Thomas Elgin
To: James Heinz
RE: Kaleidoscope

Okay, maybe bringing in a live snake for the screen tests is bad idea. Duly noted. We’ll CGI that shit. Nobody’ll know the difference. Any word on the Lyndon woman, whatever her name is? Maybe we ought to CGI her in, too.

MEMO
Date: March 30, 2012
From: Thomas Elgin
To: James Heinz
RE: Kaleidoscope

Ever heard of a guy named Jackson Mortar? Apparently he’s some sort of Kaleidoscope super-fan. His name is all over the messgage boards. They invoke him like some kind of fucking god. He showed up outside the studio the other day, screaming at me as I got into my car. I couldn’t even understand what he was saying. Fucking frothing at the mouth lunatic. I called security to escort him off the premises, and come to fucking find out he’s been camping the gates for weeks. And of course nobody has any idea how he got in, but they promise it’ll never happen again Mr. Elgin, sir. Bunch of fucking assholes. Anyway, just keep an eye out, okay?

MEMO
Date: April 11, 2012
From: Thomas Elgin
To: James Heinz
RE: Kaleidoscope

Do you mind telling me what exactly the fuck that tangle of rush print film was doing on my desk? Jesus fuck, Jimmy. Where’d you even find that shit? We’re shooting the whole thing on digital and you’re dicking around wasting antique supplies. However, if it gives you some sort of sick pleasure, you’ll be happy to know I did look at a few frames before I threw it in the trash. Did you shoot an entire reel of trees around an empty parking lot? Sometimes I really fucking wonder about you, Jimmy. Those few frames at the end, though? Pure fucking gold. Where’d you find that girl? Is she from make-up? She could be Kerry Lymon’s motherfucking twin. Maybe you could introduce me sometime? Unless you’re saving her for yourself. I know how you hate to share.

MEMO
Date: April 29, 2012
From: Thomas Elgin
To: James Heinz
RE: Kaleidoscope

Again with the film, Jimmy? Raw fucking stock? Seriously? What am I even supposed to do with that shit? Leave your goddamn garbage some place other than my office.

MEMO
Date: May 3, 2012
From: Thomas Elgin
To: James Heinz
RE: Kaleidoscope

Jimmy. Look, I’m sorry about last week. Legal’s on my ass. They think the kid’s family might sue. How the fuck did we get here, right? Didn’t we just want to make good movies? I mean, remember back in college, all those late nights we should have been studying, thinking we could do better than whatever shit they were running on IFC, calling those directors hacks and those writers pussies. Where did we go wrong, Jimmy? Shit. I’m going to take a couple days. Maybe we all should. My right eye has been bothering the fuck out of me lately. It’s like there’s always something right in my peripheral vision. Ever since Gina left, home alone at night, you know how it is. Anyway, more than once, it’s freaked me the fuck out. What was it your mother used to take to sleep? Maybe I should get some of that.

From: Thomas Elgin [telgin@studionice.com]
Sent: June 10, 2012
To: James Heinz
Subject: Kaleidoscope

jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjimmy. fuck.
they buried her where she could see the sky the sky could see her. fuuuuuuuuuck.
the glass goes in and it never comes out. it just keeps pushing through the flesh and through and though and through.
running.
i’m tired jimmy. run.

From: James Heinz [jheinz@studionice.com]
Sent: June 18, 2012
To: James Heinz
Subject: Kaleidoscope – CANCELLED

All:

I’ve spoken to most of you individually, but I wanted to reiterate how much I value your work on this project, and how much it pains me that it will never come to fruition. Some things simply aren’t meant to be. I sincerely hope I’ll have the opportunity to work with all of you on other projects.

As I’ve said many times over the past months, I have an open door policy. That hasn’t changed. If any of you have any questions or concerns, about anything, you know where to find me.

Finally, since many of you have asked, there will be no formal services, but I am organizing my own small get together for Tom. A wake, if you will. Those of you who knew him will take it in the right spirit, I trust: I know he would’ve hated it. Since he wasn’t religious, or charitable, and isn’t survived by any family, I’d suggest that if you’d like to do something to honor him, make a donation to the charity of your choice. He’d have hated that, too.

Sincerely,

James Heinz, Acting President and CEO
Studio Nice

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A Game of Cards

StreetsofShadowsI’m a sucker for noir. I love the shadows, the rain-slick streets, the down-on-their-luck characters, all the classic dingy and dirty trappings of the genre. Up until now, I’ve never tried my hand at writing it. As I’ve said before, I consider Jessica Rabbit to be the ultimate femme fatale, and the fact that the stylings of Who Framed Roger Rabbit imprinted themselves on me at such a young age made me fear my view might be a little too…skewed to pull it off successfully. But then Streets of Shadows came along, and couldn’t resist. After all, isn’t skewed a good thing?

So I thought about noir and the close, gritty, rain-soaked streets I associate with the genre. Then I took my story and plunked it in the desert, Las Vegas, Nevada to be exact (though I did sneak in a freak rainfall, cuz, y’know, noir). I thought about the archetypal tough-guy lead, the straight, white, male detective with the perpetual five o’clock shadow outlining his perfect jaw. Then I wrote a story with a black, lesbian boxer-turned-bodyguard as the lead. I threw in magic and luck and grifters and card games. There is a femme fatale of sorts, but she doesn’t look like Jessica Rabbit, and whether she’s bad or drawn that way, I leave it for others to decide.

Streets of Shadows is now officially available for purchase. It blends noir and urban fantasy in tales spun by the likes of Damien Angelica Walters, Paul Tremblay, Nick Mamatas, Nisi Shawl, Seanan McGuire, and many more. You can see the full ToC here, and read Tom Piccirilli’s contribution, What I Am, for free at Apex Magazine.

I’ll even give you a little taste of my contribution, A Game of Cards, to get you started…

Times like this, it’s like I never left the ring. The crack of fist to jaw, spitting blood, and that first bitter-sweet pulse of heat that’ll be a beautiful bruise by morning. Except there are no spotlights, no crowds shouting my name, and it’s a lucky elbow thrown with a wild prayer rather than a punch thrown with skill that catches me.

One thing is the same: It hurts like a motherfucker.

The blow lands in just the right spot to send pain along an old fault line, the one that ended my career. Now I’m pissed.

I’ve got at least ten pounds on this guy, all muscle. He’s skinny as a rag soaked in kerosene; wiry is one thing, if you know how to use it, but he doesn’t. He’s flailing, cornered. He got one lucky shot. He won’t get two.

To read the rest, you’ll have to pick up your very own copy of Streets of Shadows.

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Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife

Shimmer21As part of my secret, not-so-secret, not-really-a-plan-plan to appear in as many issues of Shimmer as possible, I have once again snuck my work into its fine oages. Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife was published a few days ago in Issue #21. It’s not quite erotica, but well…it is inspired by a famous piece of erotic art from the 1800s, Hokusai’s woodblock print, The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife. (Image below the cut, in case you’re not into tentacle sexy times.)

If you’re curious how the story came to be, you can read my Shimmery author interview . I also wax poetic about poutine, and discuss my obsession with featuring bodies of water in my fiction. Or, if you prefer to skip straight to the good stuff, there’s a Shimmer Drinking Game in honor of Shimmer reaching drinking age. Once you’ve had a few Shimmery drinks, jump past the cut for the visual inspiration behind the story. Cheers!

 

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