Life change in T-minus three months: I'm delighted to say that on June 25th, I'll be starting the first day of 26 months of leave from my job.
I've been working hard for 15 years, but even though I really do only three things in my life (Joshua, work and writing), I still feel like I am short-changing him and me. So, I made a budget, reduced my expenses and concluded that, with only savings, I would be able to take 2 years off work.
So, come the end of June, no more daycare for Joshua, all summer long or during the school year. I'll pick him up at school everyday at 3pm and we'll ski or skate or sled or read or whatever we want. On his mother's days, I'll drop him off with her after my patented papa daycare.
And when he's in school or with her, I'll write. I have far more ideas and writing plans than I can do anything with, so I'll try to take advantage of these two years to write 2,000 words per day, 5 days a week, 10 months a year. If my math isn't wrong, that could be anywhere from 500,000-800,000 words in two years. And if I make any money from that, it's just bonus.
I'll also catch up on reading and TV (I haven't really paid much attention to TV since the year 2000) and socializing and volunteering. I've wanted to become far more involved with SFWA for a while, and I'd really like to help continue to grow Ottawa's literary speculative fiction community.
I'm excited about this, as is Joshua. I'd rather have time than money and some job will be waiting for me when I get back :-) k
SFWorld has just translated and published my 2nd and 3rd stories in Mandarin - "Way of the Needle" (hard sf from ASIMOV'S Science Fiction
) and "The God Thieves" (fantasy from Beneath Ceaseless Skies
). My Google-translate name has two forms - in one issue, I am "Derek Kunshi Ken" and in another "Derek Kunshen Ken." Google is inching closer to it, or the Chinese are. I'm in great company, though: appearing in the same issue as Heinlein, OS Card, Robert Reid, and M.K. Hobson http://www.sfw.com.cn/?p=5413http://www.sfw.com.cn/?p=5314
It's been a busy and exciting spring with lots of excitement for any writer, enough to lose track of, so I count myself really fortunate. It started with a few foreign sales after "Schools of Clay" came out in Asimov's in the winter. A magazine in Poland (Nowa Fantastyka) and China (SFWorld) both wanted to buy the rights, and asked for more of my stuff, which is exciting. The Chinese version is already out and apparently my Google-translated version of my name, from Mandarin, is Derek Kunshi Ken. I've got to use that as a pen name sometime when the loan sharks are after me.
As well, "Way of the Needle"
and "The Dog's Paw"
appeared in Escapepod and Pseudopod, respectively. That's very exciting, because in the space of a year, I went from not having sold anything to the amazing Escape Artists group (of which I have been a longtime fan), to selling to all three :-)
I also sold I story I love called "Buddha Circus" to the anthology Darke Fantastique
. It's a story I really like, because how often does the narrative offer the possibility of Buddha riding a unicycle?
And then came a couple of firsts and a fifth. I can now say that I sold my fifth story to Asimov's, which is also my first one to have humans on screen. Up until now, it's all been unrecognizably modified humans, non-humanoid aliens and monkeys. It's a science fiction ghost story, so I hope it flies with the readership.
The other first is that I sold my first story to Analog. I've been trying for years to hit the sweet spot for the Analog readership, and hadn't yet made it, but what finally worked for them was a survival tale set in the clouds of Venus, starring the Québécois. I'm descended from seven generations of Québécois, and live in Québec, and it finally occurred to me that a fringe benefit of being a writer was to give whomever I wanted heroic adventures in strange places, so I got to give some of space to the Québécois. I also got to make up the native life of Venus, so that was a ton of fun. It's called "Persephone Descending" and it will appear in the November issue of Analog (on the stands in early September).
I have lots of things still to work on, and never enough time, but everyone feels like that, right? :-)
The nominations for the 2014 Aurora Awards and the World Fantasy Awards have opened. I don’t normally send around my stuff for people to consider, but two fantasy stories of mine were published in 2013, both of which I’m proud of.
I’d like to draw your attention to the first, though. “The Dog’s Paw” is a dark fantasy story about a North American diplomatic corps trying to increase the number of honour killings in a country very much like Yemen. I’d been appalled about honour killings in general for a long time, but didn’t find a way to actually put on paper what I wanted until I reversed all the morals. “Dog’s Paw” was chosen by Ellen Datlow for her Year’s Best Horror Volume Six.
I believe she called it “wonderfully disturbing.” It will also be podcast in June at Pseudopod.org.
If you are interested in reading “Dog’s Paw” I would be happy to send you a pdf. And if you feel it is something you would want to consider as you think about the Aurora and the World Fantasy nominations, I would obviously be delighted.
If you are interested in thinking about some other amazing fiction, might I suggest a few stories below that are in my balloting consideration? If you think there are others I should be thinking about, please let me know!
How to Nominate – Aurora: You need to be a member of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (CSFFA), by being a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and paying $10, but this money supports the awards themselves and provides a small cash prize for the winner in the novel category. You can become a member by clicking here: http://www.prixaurorawards.ca/membership/join-csffa/
If you’re already a member you’re golden. After payment, you can click on the “Aurora Awards” button at the top of the screen and then you’re good to go. The nomination deadline is April 12.
How to Nominate – World Fantasy Award: If you attended the World Fantasy Convention 2012 or 2013, or are going to attend the World Fantasy Convention in 2014, you’re eligible to already. The link and instructions are right here http://worldfantasy2014.org/awards.php
. The nomination deadline is May
Thank you for any thought you give to this.
Aurora Ballot – some on my “consider these” list:
Helen Marshall “The Hanging Game” http://www.tor.com/stories/2013/03/the-hanging-game
Michael Matheson “The Last Summer” http://www.ideomancer.com/?p=2637
Geoffrey Cole “Song of Mary” http://www.electricvelocipede.com/2013/12/song-of-mary-by-geoffrey-w-cole/
Indrapramit Das “Karina Who Kissed Spacetime” http://www.apex-magazine.com/karina-who-kissed-spacetime/
Gemma Files “A Feast for Dust” http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/stories/a-feast-for-dust/
Geoff Gander “White Noise” http://aescifi.ca/index.php/fiction/35-short-stories/1998-white-noise
Kate Heartfield “A Pair of Ragger Claws” http://blacktreacle.ca/2013/04/02/a-pair-of-ragged-claws-by-kate-heartfield/
Cory Doctorow “By His Things Will You Know Him” http://www.iftf.org/fanfutures/doctorow/
Marie Bilodeau “The Kevlar Canoe” http://tychebooks.com/books/masked-mosaic/
Hayden Trenholm and Elizabeth Westbrook Trenholm “Chasing Happiness” http://www.neo-opsis.ca/Twenty-Three.htm
There’s a much bigger list of eligible works available
for nomination at: http://canspecfic.com/2013-can-sf/
World Fantasy Ballot – the ones above, plus some works by
Sofia Samatar “Selkie Stories are for Losers” http://www.strangehorizons.com/2013/20130107/selkie-f.shtml
Christopher Barzak “Sister Twelve: Confessions of a Party Monster” http://www.apex-magazine.com/sister-twelve-confessions-of-a-party-monster/
Kenneth Schneyer “Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer” http://mythicdelirium.com/?page_id=1137
It seems that every day just flies by. I've got a newer, bigger job, have been managing to keep up with parenting and writing/editing, as well as the blogging at Black Gate
, and for some reason, I'm making a lot of reprint sales, including Ellen Datlow's Best Horror of the Year, Volume Six. All this is very exciting, but doesn't leave time for much else. I am working on a bit of a short fiction monstrosity - a novella (my first) called "Pollen from a Future Harvest," which is more overtly a time travel story than my last ("Schools of Clay"), and even during editing, is weighing in at 19,000 words. We'll see how it goes.
In the meantime, I will direct you to a few of my blog posts at Black Gate. I've been having fun with that opportunity :-)Voices in Fantasy Literature, Part IVoices in Fantasy Literature, Part IIVoices in Fantasy LIterature, Part III
andIs Fantasy Inherently Not Political?
I'm still trying to get the hang of blogging regularly at Black Gate. My friend Hayden Trenholm, of writing and publishing fame, suggests that the discipline of blogging every two weeks will build a sense of which ideas are bloggable and which ones lack meat on the bone. Hayden himself carries on quite an insightful series of blogs at http://bundoransf.wordpress.com
, and I highly recommend them.
So, this week, I decided to blog
about Space: 1999, because, when you're blogging for an adventure fantasy website, nothing screams relevance like musings on a poor-quality science fiction show that was cancelled while John Lennon was complaining about the vapidity of disco.
Well, life has been busy, but lots going on.
Firstly, my name is on the cover of Asimov's for the first time. That's pretty exciting. The story is "Schools of Clay," a hard science fiction time travel story. I'd been musing for a while about why time travel stories rarely incorporate evolutionary perspectives into the time travel devices, so I decided to write a few. I actually wrote a more extensive blog entry on the genesis of this story for the new Asimov's website, which I understand will be launching sometime soon. This is a first for me and if you want to buy a copy, e-versions are available at Amazon
I've also started blogging at Black Gate Magazine
. These are really my first attempts at blog postings, and they are quite possibly amateurish. We'll see. I'll get better. Here are the links if you want to judge for yourself :-) Some Comments on the SFWA Rate Increase Voices in Fantasy Literature, Part I
I'm also pretty happy to have gotten a new novelette about the colonization of Venus by Québecois separatists written, edited, critiqued and out to market. Also, a novel I've been working on for a bit got to 4th draft, which is when I generally consider a work ready to give to our writers' group. And of course, my new piece of horror "Dog's Paw" is now out in Chilling Tales (part deux) and was also accepted by Pseudopod
for audio podcasting, hopefully sometime soon. That's pretty exciting too - that means I've made it into two of the three EscapeArtists audio magazines :-)
And I should be getting back to drafting....
I am really, really happy to say that my story "Juan Caceres and the Zapatero's Workshop" is available at Podcastle
. I've listened to so many Podcastle stories (as well as Escapepod
ones) that I've dreamed for quite some time of also being one of the authors featured there. I've tried reading this story out loud by myself and I found it difficult to switch from the English to the Spanish in the same sentence, but Roberto Suarez, the reader they got for the story, is spectacular. If you love audio fiction, head out and have a free listen. If you prefer to read e-books or paper, the story is appearing now in the most excellent "When the Hero Comes Home 2" anthology, edited by Gabrielle Harbowy
and Ed Greenwood
My fantasy short story about street kids in Central America is now available. The anthology "When the Hero Comes Home 2," following on the heels of the successful first volume and the sister anthology "When the Villain Comes Home," is now available as an e-book, a little bit ahead of the release of the physical book. I was told that "Juan Caceres" is one of my typically morally-inverted stories, which pleased me a great deal. Stories about street kids have been kicking around in my head for a while and it took time for the source material to bubble enough that I Details are on the promotion on Goodreads (you can click here
July seems to have been the month of proofs. Early, I got the proofs from EDGE Publishing for my dark fantasy story "Dog's Paw" that will be appearing in the Chilling Tales 2 (edited by Mike Kelly, available for preorder here
) anthology before the end of the year. No sooner was that done, than the proofs for my longish hard science fiction novelette "Schools of Clay" arrived from Asimov's Science Fiction. The Asimov's story will hit the stands in December or January. Lastly, I received the proofs for "Juan Caceres and the Zapatero's Workshop," a fantasy short story about magical street children in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, which will be appearing in the anthology When the Hero Comes Home 2 (edited by Gabrielle Harbowy and Ed Greenwood, cover art here
) in August. Juan Caceres was also picked up by Podcastle.org for their most excellent weekly fiction podcast. I'm not sure which I'm most excited about, because all three were tough stories to write and all four markets took me time to break into. Probably easier to just say it was Christmas in July.