Tuesday, September 20, 2016

"The Flight of a Village in the Midst of War" in DSF

This story went up yesterday at Daily Science Fiction. Give it a read, give it a rating, share it with your friends!

The story began as a flash fiction entry at SFFWorld's forum. The author notes on the story page go a bit more into some of my thoughts on the story and how it came about, so I won't repeat them here. But it's a surreal story about refugees, war...and feral trains, a story I was very pleased with from the moment I had it down and polished. Thrilled to have it as my second appearance in DSF!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Steampunk Cavaliers post on story structure

My post on "The Shape of a Steampunk Story" went up yesterday at Steampunk Cavaliers. I like to take a sideways look at stories sometimes, and these are the kinds of things I think about when I do that. About steampunk but also about fantasy and science fiction and even Harry Potter...briefly, anyway. Give it a read, comment there if you have anything add.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Two story acceptances to mention

I'm excited to announce two new stories that will be published...soon, ish. Both are stories that I originally wrote quite a while ago but because of their style or approach or something could never find a good fit for them. So that makes it even better to have them accepted.

The first is "The Front" to Bourbon Penn, which will be the third time I have a story in that market. It's a dark, slipstream/magical realist story of a war that never ends.

The second is "Grey Eytel and His Band of Birds" to the anthology Beyond the Hedge, Volume 2. This is one of a number of stories I've written that take place in the New Weird-influenced city of Boskrea. (The same setting as the Locus-recommended story "Scolyard's 'The Constructs Foresee Their Doom'" in Three-Lobed Burning Eye, among others.) This story reaches far back into the history of the city, telling the tale of its founding...as well as the multiple ways that tale has been retold and reimagined through the city's history.

Monday, July 18, 2016

"Untouched by Fire" published

Just got my contributor copies of this 2-volume anthology. Very cool artwork, and looking forward to checking out the many stories in it. All of them are fantasies set in or inspired by non-Western historical locales and cultures.

So what's my story about? A while back I was contemplating tackling a new novel and had some vague ideas about the setting, which was largely inspired by the history and cultures of India. I dug deep into learning all I could, talking to people who knew it from inside, reading many works of fiction and nonfiction. And I also wrote this short story to get my mind into the setting.

The key to this story is that the culture venerates fire, and so when a high-born girl is burned by fire, it's seen as a judgment for her actions rather than an accident. So she must deal with being suddenly an outcast, untouchable. I really liked the character, Jaritta, and she (along with her still high-caste brother) became a central character in the novel as well, a story set some 10-15 years later.

While more a fantasy than a steampunk story, it is worth noting that this was my first big work deliberately set at the cusp of an industrial revolution and shares a lot of the themes that I like to explore in more steampunk-y settings.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Spire City, Season Three: Unwoven is available

Common wisdom is to hold lots of big, celebratory events when you have a book release. I...chose to disappear to the woods for a few days. Admittedly I had internet access a good chunk of that vacation time, but when I did, I didn't have the mental focus to do a lot of promo-ing and the like. So call it my unplanned experiment in null marketing...

But now the book is available across most online bookstores. So if you've been waiting for the full bundle to be out rather than reading the episodes as they came out (and I know many of you have), then pick up a copy, in print or digital format.

And whether you've already picked it up on your own or are doing so now, consider leaving a review--for this season and for the earlier seasons as well. The more reviews, the more it helps bring in new readers! Thanks.

Here are a few of those links, but if there's another bookstore you prefer, there's a good chance you can find it there, too:

Amazon (print and digital)
Barnes & Noble (print and digital)
Smashwords (digital; Smashwords also supplies titles to lots of other digital bookstores, so you get the Smashwords version at most online sources)
Createspace (print, and my preferred source for getting print copies)

Friday, June 10, 2016

"Beings of Air"

This poem was officially published in April. But Mythic Delirium staggers the works it features on the website, so this month you can finally read it (and a couple others that hadn't been released yet) for free. So give "Beings of Air" a read, and consider subscribing while you're there!

The page with the poem includes a brief note about the inspiration for the poem, so I won't repeat that here.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

"All Things Must Complete"

Roughly eight years ago I decided I would try writing something different, a serialization—not just a novel with the chapters tossed out as individual episodes, but something meant to be serialized from the start.

About three years ago, I'd had a novella accepted by Musa Publishing and pitched the idea of releasing the serial as well.

Two and a half years ago, the first episode, "A New Infection," was released by Musa, followed over the next nine months by the rest of Season One, and then the start of Season Two shortly after.

Sixteen months ago, Musa suddenly closed shop, throwing a wrench into my plans for the series.

Thirteen months ago I re-released "A New Infection," this time with a schedule of a new episode every week, with Season One: Infected running through the end of July. Season Two: Pursued followed last fall, and Season Three: Unwoven this spring.

As of this week, the last episode is now out. The season finale. The series finale.

Within the series, when an infected person finally becomes an animal, they are not said to die but to complete. As all things must. The story of Chels and Orgood, Mint and Marrel and the rest is now complete. I hope that it's infected a few of you on its way... So thanks for reading the series. Whether you've read each episode as its come out or have waited for the full season bundles. Or maybe you're still waiting for this last episode to be released. In which case, have at it, and enjoy the series however you choose to read it.

Friday, May 27, 2016

"The Memory of Masks" in Polu Texni

Final week of school has meant not sitting down once at the computer until now... Which is why this poem came out on Monday, yet I'm only posting it today.

"The Memory of Masks" is a free verse poem inspired by a scientific article about uncovering new texts that had been repurposed into death masks in Ancient Egypt. Serendipitously, the editor of Polu Texni, Dawn Albright had recently commissioned a mask from the artist Eric Bornstein. So the posts this whole month have been focused on masks, which led her to pull my poem forward from when it had originally been slated to appear to this week instead. I love when there's a convergence of things like that, when various types of art can cross-pollinate or meet in a new place.

So read the poem, and check out all the mask-related posts this month.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"To Be Continued..."

One of my favorite things to see at the end of a TV episode when I was growing up were the three words "To Be Continued." Some people, I realize, hated that, but it always got me even more excited to find out what would happen next.

Sure, you had a moment of feeling cheated of an ending—what would MacGyver invent next? would Scrooge McDuck ever get his lucky dime back? could Magnum get out of the predicament he was in?—and a lingering worry that you'd miss the following week (sometimes difficult to remember how chancy that was in those days). But I always knew that I'd liked those multi-part episodes the best in the past, so the anticipation would build up as I waited for part two.

So this week's episode honors those memories, a part 1 that will be continued next week—same time, same channel...or anytime. I hope the anticipation builds and makes the pay-off even better!

Sunday, May 01, 2016

April, a month for poetry...

...and fittingly, since it's National Poetry Month, cruel or not.

It began with the publication of two of my poems (as well as one short story). The middle included the sale of two more poems. And then to close out the month, I sold a novelette called "The Poetics of Defiance" to GigaNotoSaurus, which is about a partnership between an alchemist and a poet--and the story includes snippets of the magic-infused poetic lines he crafts to get them out of trouble. It's a story I love, and I'm thrilled that people will have a chance to read it.

But wait, there's more. I also set myself a goal at the start of the month to write a poem every day. Thirty poems later, it's now May. The poems ranged from haiku to sonnet to pseudo, in-secondary-world epic fragments, but most of them were free verse, probably in the 20- to 40-line range (I haven't gone back to analyze specifics). And they ranged from straight-up science poetry to SF, fantasy, horror (there was a strong undercurrent of horror in the poems early in the month, for some reason).

I'd had the idea to do this some April for a number of years now--the last two years I did a compromise goal of one poem every week, and that led to several that have been published, including the "Seasons in a Moon Ocean," which is nominated for a Rhysling--but each time the month came around I told myself it wasn't a good year to try. Honestly, I could have made that argument this year as well, even more than other years, but with the way February's novella-writing challenge went, I decided to give it a go anyway.

What I find when I'm writing poetry is that I'm very open to things I see, hear, read, notice sparking some further thought. So it's a great spur to creativity of all kinds (not to mention, in my opinion, a healthy mindset in general). And the poems themselves? Some will probably not be worth submitting, when I get back to give them another look, but I suspect most will be very worth the effort. And many of them you'll see popping up in magazines and anthologies (and chapbooks? collections?) in the coming year or two.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Poems sold to Illumen

Last week Monday I had two poems published on the same day. This week Monday I had two poems accepted for publication. If this keeps up, I might grow to like Mondays...

These two are scheduled for the August issue of Illumen. One is a fairly short free verse that just skirts the edge of fantasy (or is it a non-speculative poem with a fanciful metaphor? You decide...). The other is a Fib--a poem that follows the Fibonacci sequence, with one syllable in each of the first two lines, then two, three, five, eight--with a touch a steampunk and a stronger horror/uncanny vibe.

I had a poem in Illumen several years ago, when the magazine had a different publisher. So it's great to be returning to their pages.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Episode 6 released

So far this season, each episode has centered on one of the characters of the Weave ***Season Two spoiler alert*** former residents that is, as they go their separate ways.

Now, as we're nearly to the halfway point of the season, you can find out what's happening with the last of those characters, Williver. He was in the thick of the climax for Season Two...and he's struggling now—struggling with an infection that seems to be rapidly accelerating.

Find out in Episode 6, "The Poetics of Completion," which went out to subscribers last night and should be out (or will shortly be) in Amazon and B&N.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Two poems published in one day...

...in two different publications as well. 

I'm thrilled with each, naturally. And I love the picture the editor of Polu Texni found to go with my poem.

"Monuments of Frost" is a science fictional poem about art on another planet. After writing it, I looked back and saw it as having a sort of kindred connection with Ursula LeGuin's brief stories of other places in Changing Planes.

The other one isn't available to read online yet, but you can order the issue now to read it. "Beings of Air" appears in issues 2.4 of Mythic Delirium. As with the other, while it isn't specifically inspired by any other work, I see a connection with other stories, this time Italo Calvino's Qwfwq stories (which I highly recommend, anyway...). Some crawl through Wikipedia led me to learning all kinds of things about our atmosphere, and I turned that into a fable-like poem about the beings that live up there. It will be featured this June and free to read them, but buy a copy anyway, and you can read it right away.

Friday, April 01, 2016

"The Blood Tree War" published

Today my short story "The Blood Tree War" was published at Diabolical Plots. This is a story of carnivorous plants told from their perspective. It's fairly short, so I won't say any more about the plot, etc. As far as its writing, I believe this (like many of my stories) started as a one-hour writing exercise with some writer friends. But I'm pretty sure I had a vague idea of wanting to write a story somewhat along these lines even before that exercise took place, and I simply combined the idea I already had with the prompt for that week.

A quick, somewhat dark story, so give it a read, would you?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Spire City freebie

On a lark I posted this microfiction story on Twitter the other day. It's a Spire City mini story that captures the atmosphere and danger of the city, the series, and Orgood's cruel infection.


A Dart of Deadly Serum

As soon as the cloaked man shot me—in the shadow of the foundry, where rain and steam mingled with soot—I snatched the dart from my flesh. Too slow. The poison sac was already empty, its contents working on my blood, transforming me into an animal. Already a line of fur ran up my forearm. Growing teeth forced my jaw to open, and I howled. Then snarling, I bounded after my executioner.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Guest post at Steampunk Cavaliers

I'm joining a few other writers, mostly some of those who'd been involved in the late, lamented Darkside Codex series, at a new blog called Steampunk Cavaliers. Some of the participants were introduced a few weeks ago, and there are a couple others who will be popping in now and then but weren't included in that into.

My first post went up earlier this week. It's about why I see serial fiction as such a logical part of the steampunk scene. In it I look at serial fiction in the real-world Victorian era, including one of my favorite anecdotes about how dangerous the format was seen by those in power.

So check it out, and follow the blog for new reviews and other steampunk-related goodness every week. (And if anyone is interested in having a steampunk serial featured or reviewed over there, feel free to contact me.)

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Urchin Again (and some sweet deals)

Season Three has now begun! From the first time I sat down to write out season three (roughly at the same time the season one was first being published by Musa), this first episode was called "Urchin Again." It follows Chels dealing with the devastating aftermath of the Season Two finale...

If you haven't had a chance to subscribe, then don't delay! I'll send you episode 1 right away, and you'll get the rest of the episodes as they come out.

To celebrate the release of Season Three, I've also lowered the price for the Seasons One & Two ebooks—$2.99 for Season One and $3.99 for Season Two (if you're buying in the US, and automatically converted from that elsewhere). The main links for those are also over on the Spire City tab. So now is a great time to dive into the series and find yourself caught up in the struggles of this steampunk city.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Time to Subscribe to Season Three!

After the dramatic finale to Season Two, what will happen to the people who lived in the Weave? And what will the cruel Mint do to continue his hunt against the city's powerless? Each of them reacts in different ways, which opens up many new parts of the city and new ways of seeing their infections. So sign up now to receive all the Season Three: Unwoven episodes as they are released.

This is the final season, bringing a close to the stories of Chels and Orgood and the rest, starting with episode 1, "Urchin Again," which will come out on March 7, and ending with episode 13, "All Things Must Complete," which will be released on May 30. Thirteen weeks, thirteen episodes, and one dramatic finale.

All the details on subscribing are on the Spire City tab. There is a special deal going on right now, through the end of the month. If you've read the other seasons, then subscribe for the low price of $5 US. Or if you're new, subscribe for $12 US, and I'll send you seasons 1 & 2 immediately, as well as signing you up for season 3. This is a limited time, so take advantage now! You might even have time to read through seasons 1 & 2 before season 3 starts...if you hurry.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Story sold to Myriad Lands

Excellent news! My story "Untouched by Fire" has sold to the Myriad Lands anthology to be published this summer by Guardbridge Books. I first wrote this story...quite a while ago. Even ten years, I believe. I was in the middle of getting ready to write a novel set in a caste-based society strongly influenced by the history and peoples of India (working hard to immerse myself in a variety of aspects of the cultural dynamics there, so I didn't come across as some rampaging pillager). So, as I've often done when getting ready to dive into a new world and a new novel, I decided to write a short story set there. The full world was still fairly vague in my mind, but the story helped bring it to light. In fact, the character I created for the story--Jaritta, whose scar from a fire has caused her to be outcast--became such a strong character in my mind that she ended up being one of the central characters of the novel, which is set some fifteen years after this story. The story had a variety of close-but-not-quite rejections from pro markets over the years, but never could seem to find a home even as I continued to tweak and strengthen this or that part of it (much like the novel got a number of close-but-not-quite reactions from agents over that same time...), so I'm very thrilled to finally have some aspect* of the land of Eghsal see the light of day.

*Technically, in my mind anyway, this story of mine written even a few months earlier--"The Ship of Silk on the Calmest Sea"--was always meant to be a sort of folk tale told by the people of Eghsal. So in that sense a bit of the cultural heritage of the land has been published before...but its connection to the rest was never made explicit.

Monday, January 25, 2016

And it's here

Get your copy of the complete Spire City, Season Two: Pursued today. Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Kobo (and others)

Targeted by a mad scientist's deadly serum, these outcasts band together to uncover the truth and to fight back. 
Spire City is home to mighty machines of steam power and clockwork, and giant beetles pull picturesque carriages over cobbled streets, but there is a darker secret behind these wonders. A deadly infection, created by a mad scientist, is spreading through the city, targeting the poor and powerless, turning them slowly into animals. A group of those infected by the serum join together to survive, to trick the wealthy out of their money, and to fight back. 
Months have passed since the confrontation with the sleepless Mint, and now Orgood is becoming more aggressive again in infecting the people on the streets and pursuing those who have already been infected. Can those in the Weave answer in kind, or will the attempt wipe them all out? Find out in Season Two: Pursued. 
This sequel to Spire City, Season One: Infected includes all thirteen episodes of the second season of this steampunk-fantasy series. The series will conclude with Spire City, Season Three: Unwoven.
You can get Season One: Infected at the same bookstores as well: Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Kobo (and others)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Season Two Bundle, cover art and pre-order!

Here's the cover art for Season Two: Pursued! Once again, love the work done by KMD Web Designs.

But wait, that's not all...

The book is available for pre-order from the various Smashwords' affiliates, including Smashwords itself and Barnes & Noble. And it appears that it may have even been released early from CreateSpace, so if you're looking for the print version, you might be able to get a physical copy even before the book is officially released.

While I like the serial nature of this project, I hear from many readers who say they'd rather wait until the whole season is out and read it in a more traditional way. And that's fine with me, if it's what you prefer. So now is the time to put in your pre-order or even order a physical copy and (potentially) get started on reading it sooner.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Spire City review

Google Alerts notified me to this in-depth review of Season One: http://galleywampus.com/review-spire-city-season-one-infected-by-daniel-ausema/

It has some caveats. Is the series a slow burn? An unconventional approach in some ways, that might take getting used to? Yeah, that's a fair statement, and I'm perfectly OK with that. But the reviewer ultimately found it highly rewarding, and one he's going to recommend to others. So I'm quite thrilled with the review.
Chels is our main character, she is an immigrant orphan girl whose only real family is a bunch of misfits that are brought together by the fact they have all been touched by a virus that turns a regular human into an actual animal. She lives in a world where the rich and the powerful do not care about the poor and the weak and this brings me to an interesting observation about this book. I cannot help, but feel that Daniel Ausema was making some sort of social commentary on our world and society within his fictional world as a lot of elements he touches upon are very relevant in modern society.
Daniel Ausema has crafted a really interesting tale that is both amazing and terrifying all at once; I can’t help, but be excited by it.
...then you’re left with a memorable story that will leave you, wanting more. I’m definitely going to recommend this one to my friends. If you enjoyed the book, as much as, I have you really want to read the follow-ups Season Two: Pursued and the upcoming Season Three: Unwoven.
Most excellent.