Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cake Drones!

Okay, this is awesome. :) Shanghai's Incake bakery bought three mini-drones and was using them to deliver cakes to customers. How cool is that? Click through -- there's video. :D

The drones have cameras on them so the remote operator can identify customers. That's good -- you wouldn't want someone stealing your cake, after all.

Unfortunately, their drones were grounded after the civil aviation authority expressed some concerns. Unmanned aircraft require approval to fly, and Incake didn't ask anyone's permission. They plan to jump through the bureaucratic hoops and get their awesome cake drones back in the air, though, with all the proper permits, which is great news. I'd totally pay extra to get a cake delivered by unmanned drone, but I wouldn't bet anything on drone-delivery of baked goods ever being allowed in the US. Bummer.

Thanks to CakeWrecks for the link.


Friday, July 26, 2013

A Great Reading

So yesterday evening Jim and I headed downtown to the University Bookstore to do a reading. I was nervous for a day or two leading up to the event, and kind of twitchy-stressed. I've never done this before, I was worried no one would show up, I wondered if anyone would like my work, or whether I'd verbally stumble my way through a horrible performance. You know, the usual newbie-nerves one gets about pretty much anything taking place in the public eye.

Our reading time had been cut down by a few minutes, so I spent Wednesday finding a scene that'd work -- something that stands sort of alone, was interesting, and was short enough. I picked an early-ish scene from A Hidden Magic and cut some bits out of it, a few words here, a line or two there. When I was pretty sure I had something that'd work, I printed it out, because I've noticed at other people's readings that writers who read from print-outs looked more comfortable than writers who read from books.

Tracy, who organized the event as part of the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up in September, was there, along with some people from Old Growth Northwest, which is partnering to put on the meet-up. Tracy'd warned us that traffic was awful in the early evening, so we all got there early and hung out until the start. Chatting with Astrid Amara, Ginn Hale and Laylah Hunter was fun. None of us had ever done a reading before, and we were joking around about whether all of us could fit under the draped table, and just pass the mics back and forth without having to be, like, right there in front of the audience. Because writers tend to be hermit-ish, and that was certainly true of all four of us. O_O

Once it got going, though, it was great fun, and I wasn't nervous anymore, anticipation being worse than the actuality and all that. The bookstore had set up a table and chairs for us, so we sat there in a row the whole time rather than having to shuttle up to a podium or whatever, and there were a couple of mics we ended up ignoring because we didn't need them. There were probably about thirty-some people in the audience, which filled most of the chairs, with a few people standing around the edges or sitting on the floor. I enjoyed the other readings, and when it was my turn, I was glad I'd printed out my scene; not having to use both hands to keep the book open was nice.

Doing the reading was fun, and I managed not to stumble too badly. :) Once I got going it just flowed, and the line about the goblin wearing a "Tolkien Sucks" T-shirt got a great laugh. I wrapped up and got some nice applause, which was pretty awesome.

There was a lively Q&A session after the readings. We talked about where we get ideas (of course -- I think it's illegal to have an event featuring writers without that being discussed) and whether we outline or not (I was the sole dedicated pantser in the group). One person asked whether where we started was always the actual beginning of the story, which was an interesting question. My beginnings usually stay my beginnings, except when I'm writing SF. I tend to do a lot of worldbuilding right there in the first few pages, and I do a lot of cut/pasting into another file as I pull the blathering out of the story, before the real beginning of the story shows up.

One young man thanked us for helping to queer SF, which was great. And yeah, that's part of the point. Writing queer characters in fiction helps normalize queerness, if only a little. People who know queer or GLBT people are less likely to be homophobic than people who don't (or do but don't know it). I can't go around introducting folks to actual GLBT people in realspace, but putting queer characters into fiction, treated just like any other characters who have problems to solve and worlds to save, who go on adventures and kick butt on the villains and get the guy or girl of their dreams? That has to help, at least some, and that I can do.

When the Q&A was over, I signed some books and then the event broke up.

Thanks to Tracy and the Old Growth folks, and the U Bookstore for putting on the event, to Astrid, Ginn and Laylah for plotting to hide under the table with me, and to everyone who came out to hear us. I had a great time, and am very much looking forward to the meet-up in September.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Anthology Markets

If you've just wandered in off the internet, hi and welcome. :) I do these posts every month, so if this post isn't dated in the same month you're in, click here to make sure you're seeing the most recent one.

Markets with specific deadlines are listed first, "Until Filled" markets are at the bottom. There are usually more details on the original site; always click through and read the full guidelines before submitting. Note that some publishers list multiple antho guidelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.


31 July 2013 -- Long Hidden -- ed. Rose Fox and Daniel José Older; Crossed Genres Publications

Below are guidelines for submitting stories to Long Hidden, and the submission form. Please read the guidelines carefully before submitting.

Direct all queries to

Do not send story submissions via email, and do not send queries through the submission form.

Who can submit
We welcome stories by authors from all walks of life. We especially encourage submissions from members of marginalized groups within the speculative fiction community, including (but not limited to) people of color; people who are not from or living in the U.S.A.; QUILTBAG and GSM people; people with disabilities, chronic illness, or mental illness; and atheists, agnostics, and members of religious minorities. The protagonists of your story do not have to mirror your own heritage, identities, beliefs, or experiences.

We also especially encourage short story submissions from people who don’t usually write in this format, including poets, playwrights, essayists and authors of historical fiction and historical romance.

Submission deadline and publication schedule

All submissions are due July 31, 2013. If it’s still July 31 in your time zone, you’re good. Acceptance notices will be sent by October 1. The anthology is tentatively slated for a February 2014 release.

Pay and rights

We pay USD 5¢/word for global English first publication rights in print and digital format. The author retains copyright. Payment is upon publication.

Story criteria

== Length: 3000-7000 words (FIRM)
== Your story must be set between the years 1400 and 1920 C.E., and take place primarily in our world or an alternate historical version of our world. (Travel to other worlds, other dimensions, Fairyland, the afterlife, etc. is fine but should not be the focus.)
== Your protagonists must be people who were marginalized in their time and place. By “marginalized” we mean that they belong to one or more groups of people that were categorically, systematically deprived of rights and/or economic power. Examples in most times and places include enslaved people, indigenous people, queer people, laborers, women, people with disabilities, the very young and very old, and people who do not share the local dominant religion, language, or ethnicity. Many people belong to multiple marginalized groups, and many are marginalized in some ways and privileged in others. Your story should acknowledge the complexity and intersectionality of marginalization.
== Your story must contain a significant element of science fiction, fantasy, horror, or the weird, without which the story would not work or would be a substantially different story.
== All submissions must be in English.
== No reprints. No Simultaneous submissions.

We will not accept any story containing the following:

== Gratuitous or titillating depictions of violence.
== Gratuitous descriptions of bodies or body parts, or people described only in objectifying ways.
== Horror that relies on shocking or grossing out the reader.
Stories that are all about how someone non-marginalized became an enlightened champion of marginalized people.
== A protagonist from a societally or technologically powerful group who happens to be temporarily or situationally powerless (e.g. a peasant who’s really a prince, a representative of the British East India Company shipwrecked on Ceylon).
== Depictions of marginalized people as being doomed to hopeless misery.
== Depiction of any group, no matter how powerful, as universally, inherently, or irredeemably evil.

Handle with care

If you decide to incorporate one or more of the following elements, please do so with caution and awareness of the ways that they can be problematic or difficult to write about.

== Violence, particularly sexual violence. We recognize that sexual violence is frequently used as a weapon against marginalized people, so we are not issuing a blanket prohibition against it, but please consider very carefully whether you need to include it in your story; and if you decide that you do, please consider very very carefully whether your story needs to show the violent act itself.
== Consensual sexual encounters. We’re not averse to sexual or erotic content, but it needs to further the story and incorporate awareness of the ways real-world power relationships affect sexual behavior and decision-making.
== Stereotypes and clichés.
== Alternate history that drops magic powers or anachronistic technology into a historical setting.
== A protagonist who is the only marginalized person in the story.
== Revenge fantasies.
== A setting that’s already very commonly used in speculative fiction, especially one that’s often associated with stories featuring members of privileged/dominant/colonizing groups, e.g. Victorian England, the American “Wild West”.

What we do want

Your story doesn’t need to have all these elements, but we’re especially interested in stories that have at least some of them.

== Intersectionality.
== Accurate depictions of life on the margins.
== Thoughtful, sensitive incorporation of religion, superstition, and folklore.
== Depictions of historically accurate societal attitudes in the context of an authorial voice that does not condone or espouse bigotry. (For example, your female characters will probably have to deal with societal sexism, but your descriptions of them should not rely on sexist stereotypes.)
== An understanding of how economic, technological, political, and religious influences shape a time and place, especially in alternate historical settings.
== Research bibliographies and suggestions for further reading.
== Integration of friendships, family relationships, and community into the story.
== Protagonists who make conscious choices and take conscious action.
== Side characters who are real people.
== Personal triumphs and successes.
== Making us laugh, think, cheer, and weep.

How to submit

To submit a story to Long Hidden, please fill out the form below. Be sure to:

== Address your email “Dear Long Hidden editors” or “Dear Mr. Older and Ms. Fox” or “Dear Rose and Daniel”. All submissions should be addressed to both editors. See this post for why we feel the need to emphasize this.
== Include your story’s year and location at the beginning of your submission.
== Attach your story as a .doc, .docx, or .rtf file, with your name, the story title, and the wordcount on the first page.

[Click through for submission form.]
[Also, see here for a more detailed discussion of what they're doing with the book, what they want, and what writers they've invited already.]


1 August 2013 -- Dying to Live -- Diabolic Publications

== All stories must be in doc. or docx, .rtf format.
== All stories must be anywhere from 2000 to 8000 words long.
== Please use 12 point font and double space your text.
== We are looking for dark Vampires, of the old fashioned kind! Erotica is acceptable as long as the vampires drink human blood, bite, kill and so forth. We are not looking for love story type vampires. Stories that will not be accepted are stories with child rape, molestation, or pedophilia.
== Allow at least 6 weeks before inquiring if your story will be included if you have not heard from us. You will receive an email if your story has been accepted.

Submissions should be sent electronically as an attachment to:

In the subject line of the email, include your name, the title of the work you are submitting, and the edition you are submitting for "Dying to Live".

In the body of the email, include your contact information (Real Name or official pen name, not your online name), the word count of the work you are submitting, and a brief biography. Make certain to use an email address that you have access to all the time as correspondences from us come through email only!

We only accept electronic submissions at this time.

PAY: Made by Paypal only, if you don't have a paypal account please get one.

Fiction: US$.03/word, payable upon publication. Plus, one copy of the edition in which the work appears when edition is published as a paper copy.

Reprints: US$.01/word, payable upon publication. Plus, one copy of the edition in which the work appears when edition is published as a paper copy.

RIGHTS: Exclusive First World English Rights for print and First Electronic Rights for two years from date of print publication. Rights are then no longer exclusive and revert back to the author after the two year period.


1 August 2013 -- I Delight in What the Book Forbids: Stories of Gay Muslim Fantasy -- ed. Steve Berman; Lethe Press

The title refers to a line from th acclaimed Arab poet Diwan Abu Nawas and, it is our hope, to inspire both prose poems and short fiction that is both positive in its treatment of Muslim men and expands upon the rich mythology of the Arab world: jinn, the garin, rocs, and ghuls among others. Whether these gay men seek adventure, treasure, or love, the stories should be rich in their surroundings and culture (whether ancient, medieval, or contemporary). Stories should deal with gay or bisexual men and between 2,500 and 10,000 words. Pament for original fiction is 5 cents a word; reprints receive 1 cent a word. All authors receive a free copy of the book. Consider some of the stories by Alex Jeffers when looking at what I want. Submissions should be sent to no later than August 1st.


1 September 2013 -- Ether World -- Diabolic Publications LLC

== All stories must be in doc., docx., or .rtf format.
== All stories must be up to 4000 words or less.
== Please use 12 point font, Times New Roman and double space your text.
== We are looking for original science fiction in which some facet of future science or technology is integral to the plot. The science needs to be physical, sociological or psychological. The technology can be any form such as electronic engineering, biogenetic engineering and so forth. All stories must be strong and realistic, with believable characters that may or may not be human.
== You will receive an email if your story has been accepted or rejected as soon as a decision has been made.

Submissions should be sent electronically as an attachment to:

On the subject line of the email, include your name, the title of the work you are submitting, and the anthology you are submitting for , in this case the "Ether World".

In the body of the email, include your contact information (Real Name or official pen name, not your online name), the word count of the work you are submitting, and a brief biography. Make certain to use an email address that you have access to all the time as correspondences from us come through email only!

We only accept electronic submissions at this time.

PAY: Made by Paypal only, if you don't have a paypal account please get one.

We require a written and signed agreement which will be sent with an acceptance email.

Fiction: US$.03/word, payable upon electronic publication. Plus, one copy of the edition in which the work appears when edition is published as a paper copy.

Reprints: US$.01/word, payable upon print publication. Plus, one copy of the edition in which the work appears when edition is published as a paper copy.

RIGHTS: Exclusive First World English Rights for print, and First Electronic Rights for two years from date of publication. Rights are then no longer exclusive and revert back to the author after the two year period.


30 September 2013 -- Mars -- Third Flatiron Anthologies

We like things Martian: the Red Planet, H.G. Wells, Bradbury, Robinson, Roman God of War, Marvin....

Third Flatiron Publishing is an e-publishing venture based in Boulder, Colorado. We are looking for submissions to our quarterly themed online anthologies. Our focus is on science fiction and fantasy and anthropological fiction. We’re looking for tightly plotted tales in out-of-the-ordinary scenarios.

Please send us short stories that revolve around age-old questions and have something illuminating to tell us as human beings. Fantastical situations and creatures, exciting dialog, irony, mild horror, and wry humor are all welcome. Stories should be between 1,500 and 3,000 words.

Role models for the type of fiction we want include Kurt Vonnegut, Arthur C. Clarke, Dan Simmons, Connie Willis, Vernor Vinge, and Ken Kesey. We want to showcase some of the best new shorts available today.

Click through to the "Submissions" tab for preferred formats, etc.

For each issue, we will also accept a few very short humor pieces on the order of the "Shouts and Murmurs" feature in The New Yorker Magazine (600 words or so). These can be written from a first-person perspective or can be mini-essays that tell people what they ought to do, how to do something better, or explain why something is like it is, humorously. An SF/Fantasy bent is preferred.

Your story must be original work, with the digital rights unencumbered. Beginning with the Summer 2013 issue, accepted stories will be paid at the flat rate of 3 cents per word (U.S.), in return for the digital rights to the story. All other rights will remain with the author. We no longer offer royalties, as we're now into our second year.


30 September 2013 -- Strange Bedfellows -- Bundoran Press

Bundoran Press Publishing House is now accepting stories for Strange Bedfellows – an original short story anthology of political science fiction 'where ideology is a character.' We are looking for well-written science fiction stories with strong plots and compelling, if not necessarily sympathetic, characters engaged in arguments with the world. We want political stories, immersed in science, that take on those arguments without polemic but with passion – recognizing that causes have both effects and consequences. We don’t care what your politics are; we just want you to tell a good story.

Similar to our novel guidelines, we are accepting any genre of science fiction, from space opera to near future to any of the 'punk' genres. Military SF is fine as long as the focus of the story is on internal conflicts not armed ones. No fantasy, even urban, and generally no horror unless it has a solid SF element. In all cases, political systems, political processes, or political solutions must be central to the story.

No reprints, unless specifically solicited by the editor. (Don’t Query.)

We are considering stories in the 2000 to 7500 word range with a definite preference for 4-6000 words. Shorter and longer stores MAY be considered but no more than two stories shorter than 2000 words will make the book and no more than one over 7500 (hard maximum 12K).

Submissions open immediately and will close on September 30, 2013 at 11:59pm EST. Publication will be in April 2014 in trade paperback and digital editions.

Payment is 5.5 cents per word (Canadian funds) on publication, plus one contributor copy, for exclusive (12 month from date of publication) World English print and digital rights and non-exclusive rights thereafter. Exceptions made for Best of Year anthologies.

Submit story and separate cover letter in .rtf format only. Do not query. Response time is estimated at 4 weeks for rejection or request to hold. Final acceptances by November 15, 2013.

Email your attached rtf document to


UNTIL FILLED -- Membrane -- Dreadful Cafe -- First Listed May 2013

Unreal. Imaginative. Intense.

An escape from the safe.

These stories will propel the reader—by wormhole or peephole—through the fantastic, the criminal, and the insane.

Sometimes strange, always original, the stories we publish are of the highest production standards, from thrilling premise all the way to professional editing.

We are now soliciting query letters for Membrane, our first anthology. All genres are eligible, but preference is given to stories that cross more than one and which reflect the flavor and theme described above.

Manuscripts must be between 2,000 and 30,000 words and not previously published by anyone but the author. Self-published works are accepted and encouraged!

Please refer to our Submission Guidelines.

Upon acceptance of your completed manuscript, Dreadful Cafe pays for non-exclusive, unlimited, 5-year publishing rights on the following schedule:

Short Stories (2,000-7,000 words) — $125
Novelettes (7,001-15,000 words) — $250
Novellas (15,001-30,000 words) — $500/Negotiable

It's your work.

We are simply paying for the rights to publish, market, and sell your completed manuscript as part of this or any other Dreadful Cafe anthology. You are encouraged to continue marketing on your own.

However, you will be unable to enter into any exclusive arrangement with other parties once you have sold rights to us. Also, note that we may give your story away for free as part of our marketing efforts, and that we may use edited excerpts from your story for the same.

This applies to both electronic and print versions, both in the US and abroad.

We may, at our discretion, hire an editor (at our expense) to work with you on your manuscript. Payment follows final completion and acceptance of the edited manuscript.

Dreadful Cafe reserves the right to reject your manuscript at any time and for any reason, including elimination from future editions of the published anthology.

No royalties or warranties are given or implied.

Estimated Publication: Pre-holiday 2013

Query Submissions Open: April 1, 2013

Query Submissions Closed: TBD

The Dreadful Cafe is committed to socially responsible publishing. All after-cost proceeds from this anthology will go to support St. Jude's Children's Hospital, because life is too short not to have fun and too precious not to do good.

We encourage you to support the many local charities in your community.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Reading on 25 July in Seattle

On Thursday, 25 July, I'm going to be reading at a Gay Romance Northwest special SF/Fantasy event, at the University Bookstore in Seattle, along with Astrid Amara, Ginn Hale and Laylah Hunter. The U Bookstore is at 4326 University Way NE Seattle, WA 98105, and the event starts at 7pm. It's free, so I hope everyone in the area who likes SF, Fantasy and/or gay romance will come down to hang out with us.

This event is a lead-in to the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up on 14 September, at the Seattle Central Library, in the Microsoft Auditorium. The library's at 1000 4th Ave Seattle, WA 98104, right downtown. This is a one day event, with registration starting at noon, the event itself from 1pm to 5pm, and Happy Hour from 5pm to 7pm for folks who can't stand to leave and want to stay and chat a while longer. (I'll be there the whole time, and hopefully we'll get a group to go to dinner after. [crossed fingers])

Early registration for the Meet-Up is $15; it goes up to $25 on 1 August. This is a great price; I've been to a lot of conventions and conferences, and I haven't seen one-day prices this low for a couple of decades. Pre-register here.

Writers attending the Meet-Up in September:

Astrid Amara
Talya Andor
Eric Andrews-Katz
Cate Ashwood
Heidi Belleau
Angela Benedetti
Sarah Black
Kade Boehme
L.C. Chase
Megan Derr
Stormy Glenn
Amelia Gormley
Ginn Hale
Lou Harper
Daisy Harris
Laylah Hunter
Amber Kell
Nicole Kimberling
Morticia Knight
Pender Mackie
Finn Marlowe
Sasha L. Miller
M.J. O'Shea
Rick R. Reed
Devon Rhodes
P.D. Singer
Tara Spears
Andrea Speed
Ethan Stone
Lou Sylvre
Anne Tenino
Piper Vaughn

This event is being hosted by Old Growth Northwest, a non-profit organization working to support a complex ecosystem of writers and readers in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks to them for helping put on these events!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Story Release -- Staying Afloat

I have a story called "Staying Afloat" in the current volume of the Fiction River anthology series, How to Save the World. It's an SF anthology, part of a new series of multi-genre anthologies. John Helfers edited this book, with Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch as the series editors.

This is the story I wrote for one of the workshops back in March, and it was awesome to get my trib copy, especially since this is my first pro-level publication. While travelling in Mexico, I saw fields on hillsides so steep I wouldn't want to have to climb them (even when I had two good knees) much less establish crops there. It made me think about what would happen if the annual rainfall doubled or tripled or more -- watering a steep slope makes it more likely to slide, not less, contrary to popular belief. And I wondered whether there was a solution that would be viable for small farmers, whose economic situation is usually pretty marginal. Then I remembered something I learned about the Aztecs in sixth grade, and it all came together.

I started out as an SF fan watching Star Trek, back when it was in its original run on NBC in the 60s. I have fuzzy memories of watching the show at home, and then playing Star Trek on the playground with a bunch of boys when I was in first grade. When I was in sixth grade, I discovered books about Star Trek, including The Making of Trouble with Tribbles, by David Gerrold. Tribbles was always one of my favorite episodes, and I've read some of Gerrold's other work over the years. Now, almost forty years later, I'm in an anthology with David Gerrold, who wrote the lead-off story for How to Save the World, and it's pretty awesome.

Reading through my copy, I remember some of the stories from the workshop, while others were new to me. They're all worth reading, and some of them are excellent.

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