Thursday, November 30, 2017

Pre-order The Silk Betrayal now!

If you watch this space closely, you may have noticed a new tab showing up above (or in the list of tabs on the mobile version): The Silk Betrayal!

The Silk Betrayal is a story of magic and revolution in a caste-based society.

Or in a slightly longer form:

Pavresh hoped to master the intricacies of arcist magic. Instead, he finds himself entangled in the city's events. While princes scheme against each other for power, revolutionaries plot against them all to overthrow the rigid caste system. Poets try to inspire change with heretical words, while militants plan more forceful action. A woman born to the princely class, rendered untouchable by a disfiguring accident, sees in revolution a path to a better life. All these strands meet at the home of Chaitan, the elderly master magician from whom Pavresh wishes to learn.

In such an environment, betrayal is inevitable. When loyalties conflict, how does one decide whom to betray?

It is the first book of the Arcist Chronicles, but it stands alone. What is arcist magic? What's the story beyond this novel? Who are the characters, and where does it take place? I'll have some more posts coming up to answer all those questions.

You can pre-order this book in print (for a discount!) now, here: Guardbridge Books online store. It will ship in early December, at which point the price will revert to its normal cost, and the print book will be available from other online stores as well. Ebook versions will follow later.

Friday, November 17, 2017

"Learning the Language of Denshin"

This poem was published earlier this week in Polu Texni. One definite inspiration for the poem was the works of Milorad Pavic. He was a Serbian author, most famous for The Dictionary of the Khazars, which is a fascinating book. After reading it a decade or so ago I went out and looked for any others of his books I could find. I always appreciate playfulness in stories, or at least things that strike me as playfully intriguing, where the play trips you as reader into other ideas or images. One of the ways Pavic plays around with language that I always liked had to do with describing the way a particular person spoke or even the way a particular language or dialect is different from others. So sometimes you distinguish one character from another by how they pronounce their consonants or how they don't pronounce their vowels. And sometimes their accents are compared to things that...make no logical sense yet have an allusive quality that often felt pitch-perfect despite logic.

There are other things at play here--Italo Calvino, even a hint of Lemony Snicket, as well as the story-based approach to language learning that I use to teach--but Pavic's way of describing the way his characters talk is a definite part of this poem.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Another new story available, "The Desert Cure"

Mythic Delirium's fall 2017 issue came out last month, but as always they release the stories and poems online over a three-month span so those who don't subscribe/buy a copy can still read them. So my short story "The Desert Cure" is now available to read online.

This story has a special place for me. There are many stories I've heard about my ancestors--in fact two of my grandparents wrote down chapbook-like accounts of their own childhoods and a third for their life after they married that they gave to all the kids and grandkids. So I mashed a bunch of those stories and others together in this very surreal take on immigrating to a new land.

One that's especially intrigued me is of my great-grandmother who immigrated at a young age to New Mexico territory because the doctors thought the dry air would be better for her TB-infected lungs. "The Desert Cure" is one of two short stories I've written about such a situation (the other is perhaps even more Weird/New Weird than this surreal one...and is currently unpublished).

So give the story a read, enjoy its story of immigration and uncanny gods, and then subscribe to Mythic Delirium to get the rest of the fall issue.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Three Days of Unnamed Silence

"Three Days of Unnamed Silence" was recently published in Diabolical Plots, the second time I've had a story there. The story is a futuristic one of the loss of identity. Various things went into the inspiration for this including a print a college friend and artist gave me that showed a worker struggling to turn a giant wheel. I wrote it much more recently, though, as an entry in the WYRM's Gauntlet competition. I wasn't able to join in this year, but I've greatly enjoyed entering the competition the past couple of years (and it's led to more than one publication).

Tangent Online has a generally positive review of the story already up, though more plot summary than anything else. Key line: "This shift in view point cleverly mirrors the central idea of how society strips us of our identities. It is a clever and unusual tale..." I'll take that.

So give the story a read. And then keep the WYRM's Gauntlet in mind next year when it comes around (it's been October into December previous years but was a bumped forward a couple of months this year).