Simon Says and Hometown Hero

Poking my head out of the bunker to mention a pair of recent stories that were published.

First, in July Every Day Fiction published my flash story "Hometown Hero, Gone for Good." This was, like many of my stories, one that began as a one-hour writing exercise. I forget the exact prompt, though I think whoever posted it used the words "gone for good" somehow within the prompt (whether or not that was intended as the actual prompt). So it was fun to riff on those words for a bit.

Second, just a couple of days ago, Unlikely Stories published its archaeology-themed issue, the Journal of Unlikely Archaeology, including my story "Three Adventures of Simon Says, the Elder." It's one of those stories I find great fun to reread, even after all the writing and revising that's gone into it. An oddball story, no doubt. I wrote it back when I had some vague ideas in mind for the novel that would be Descent of Balloons. Not quite ready to dive into the novel, I decided to try a short story, to help establish some things and give the setting some more time to bop around my subconscious. At the same time I was reading some old Uncle Wiggly stories from the library to my kids, and each of the stories ended with these little refrain-sort of things ("and if the skeesix hasn't found him, I expect he's there still" or something). So I took the narrative tone of those children stories and found that it added just the right touch to the mixture of whimsy and darkness that was in the story. It would be another year before I started writing that novel, and it takes place several centuries after the time of Simon Says.