Florence SF/F

So, it turns out Florence is nice this time of year.
My wife and I both studied Florentine history way back in college, but I had never actually visited the city, so it was great to see the buildings, paintings and sculptures mentioned in all those dusty tomes I devoured on Machiavelli, the Medicis and the Rennaisance. Nothing like enjoying nerdhood in all its glory.

Among the nerdier sculptures, we found one of Lorenzo de Medici, a.k.a. The Imp, in the Uffizi museum.

‘Alien’ might or might not have been inspired by this Renaissance sculpture from the Medici chapel (below). It’s chomping out through someone’s neck instead of through the chest, of course, but the sculpture did depict a suit of armor. And you have to admit it would be impractical to break through a chestplate.


Far Fetched Fables to record The Demi-Arcanist’s Will

The fabulous folks at Far Fetched Fables will record “The Demi-Arcanist’s Will” for their excellent podcast. I don’t have a date yet, but this is the place to look for the news.

If you can’t wait to read the story, you can find it in anthology The Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror vol. 2, edited by Robert N Stephenson. The anthology is free to download and it contains stories by great writers like James van Pelt.

Until the podcast is up you can enjoy the other stories on Far Fetched Fables. The current issue has a story by the amazing Barbara A. Barnett, and you can also find recent stories by Alex Shvartsman, Addison Smith and Ken Scholes.


The Demi-Arcanist’s Will

This fall is turning into a cornucopia of short story publishing. The latest (and last) story of the year is “The Demi-Arcanist’s Will”, which is now out in The Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Volume 2 edited by Robert N Stephenson.

The anthology contains stories by great authors from all around the globe (South Africa, Argentina, Algeria and Australia to name a few). I’m particularly happy to be sharing the table of contents with fellow Codex writers Floris Kleijne and Samantha Murray.

And the best thing (for you, at least): the anthology is free, and you can get it as a mobi, epub or pdf.

First Podcast!

More coolness. Far Fetched Fables (part of the District of Wonders) have made a podcast of ‘Master of Business Apocalypse’, which originally appeared in the UFO 3 Anthology.

You can listen to the story – and “1348” by Russell Hemmell – via this link.

It’s the first time I’ve had a story narrated, and I think Jonathan Sharp does a great job.

The Forgotten City – Out now in Space&Time Magazine

One of my short stories is out in the new issue of Space&Time Magazine! They’re celebrating their 50th year as a SF and Fantasy magazine, which makes them one of the oldest magazines in the business.

The Forgotten City is…Well, I guess it’s a story about love. Not a love story as such, since it features a rather desperate, self-delusional protagonist, but without love there wouldn’t be a story. There’s also court intrigue and a very dangerous magical city involved.

Even better, I’ll have another story coming out from them at some later point – a science fiction story called ‘Reconstruction’.

You can buy a single issue or a subscription on their homepage or on Weightless Books.

The table of contents for Issue 126 is here:


  • Heroes by John Walters
  • The Marquis by Mike Penn
  • Captain’s Children by Jamie Killen
  • Sun Melody – A Plagiarized Life by JC Hemphill
  • The Forgotten City by Jakob Drud
  • Sea Full of Stars by Siobhan Gallagher
  • Karma Kombat by Tom Joyce
  • The Witch’s Apprentice by Brian Koscienski & Chris Pisano


  • Mobservation #12 by Michael Ceraolo
  • Even Though The Stars Are Falling by Kendall Evans
  • Old Jeb by Frederick Stansfield
  • What I Most Remember From our First Date by John Grey
  • Beneath Jupiter’s Unwavering Gaze, Amalthea by Terrie Leigh Relf
  • The Curse of Prometheus by Matthew Wilson
  • Stranger On His Own Planet by Katarzyna Lisinska


  • Editor’s Geeble by Hildy Silverman
  • The Advantage of a Small Press Publisher by Danielle MacConnell
  • Fear Itself by Daniel M. Kimmel
  • Review: Nihala by Sam Tomaino
  • Word Ninja by Linda D. Addison

A Greater Sense of Community

One of the things I love about being a science fiction and fantasy writer is the sense that SFF writers and fans are creating and enjoying something important together, and that we help each other do it. I’ve found the sense of community invaluable in my own writing career; it’s an invaluable boost to morale that there are other people out there who understand what you’re doing and maybe even cheer you on.

Early on, I found that helpful spirit in the online critique group Critters.org. It’s the same supportive spirit that you find behind pages such as Ralan.com or the short fiction submission tracking site The Grinder, and I continue to find support as a member of Codex Writers and SFWA. If you’re looking for resources for writing, you’ll find them.

If only Darth Vader had helped Luke rebuild his lightsaber…

It’s my impression that this sense of community has suffered over the last decade or so. There are fierce, even toxic debates between different factions of the SFF community, and more of them than when I started out around 2001. Political debates that are fundamentally American in nature have spilled into world SFF by influencing the Hugo Awards, among other things. I also sense from my social media streams that writers are increasingly prepared to pronounce the works of their colleagues ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – or denounce the people themselves.

I probably can’t change that. But! I would love to focus more on the cooperation and inspiration that is so much a part of the SFF community. This is the quiet stuff that keeps our culture alive but never makes headlines anywhere.

So this is an invitation to share a story from the SFF community where someone helped you along or gave you a good piece of advice or a word of encouragement.

I’ll go first:

I met another author at WorldCon in London in 2014, and as these things go, we happened got to talk about submitting stories, and I told her I would begin querying agents after WorldCon. She said something in the vein of “Yeah, that’s uphill. You’ve got to keep at it to make it work.”

Not the most encouraging message on the surface of it, but I think anyone who’s been submitting lots of stories knows exactly how accurate it is. And I think about that answer every time I get a rejection from an agent. Why? Because another writer understood what I was trying to do, knew how hard it was, and how the only way to succeed is to keep working on it. That is something the community of writers have in common, and it’s kept me going when the going got tough.

So please, share your stories here, or leave a link to a similar story on your own blogs. You’ll be doing your colleagues and yourself a favor by doing so.