My contributor copy of Alternative Holidays arrived! Much sooner than expected! And it has my story, Midsummer with Vampire Romeo and Zombie Juliet in it. It’s always a thrill to see one of my works in print.
Here’s the Midjourney.ai art I made for this story. I’ve just started reading the other stories and poems. They’re excellent!
My little 500-word story, “Bidaai ki Chicken Curry” is out on the Worlds of Possibility website run by Julia Rios. And not just the story! There’s a podcast, where I read the story, and then there’s an interview with Julia. I’m so thrilled with how it’s turned out.
My short story, “Midsummer with Vampire Romeo and Zombie Juliet” has been published in Alternative Holidays Anthology from B Cubed Press. I did my first experiment with the Midjourney.ai (an artificial intelligence that creates pictures in response to prompts) to illustrate the title of my story.
I really liked the result (though I thought Juliet looks midway between a vampire and a zombie!) and I used it for posts on all my social media.
ALTERNATIVE HOLIDAYS FROM B CUBED PRESS.
The story is in a great anthology, with a nice mix of humor, horror, and warmth. And look at this cover!
The back cover is great, too: It has quotes from the characters in the anthology.
And here’s a list of the stories and authors.
Dreidel of Dread: The Very Cthulhu Chanukah – Alex Shvartsman
Candy Canes and Brimstone – Alicia Hilton
The Santa Trap – Nina Kiriki Hoffman writing as Robin Aurelian
Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology – J.C.G. Goelz
Lucy in the Sky with Helen-Sheri White
12 Zombie Days of Christmas-Gregg Chamberlain
Moderno Inferno-Richard Lau
The Last Reindeer-Katharina Gerlach
Santa’s Dog- Kevin McCarty
Christmas Fare- Kelly Piner
Paradise Misplaced-Samuel Marzioli
A Visit at Saint Nick’s-Gregg Chamberlain
The Effect of Place on Love and Death-Gerri Leen
The Stockings of Santa River-Daniel Ausema
He’s Coming-Louis Evans
Lancelot Wednesday-Judy Lunsford
MOJO DAY-Marie Noorani
Quicksilver’s Last Job-Simon Kewin
Merry Chrithmuth-Kevin McCarty
Midsummer with Vampire Romeo and Zombie Juliet-Keyan Bowes
We All Have to Pitch In-David Powell
The Reaper of Trees-Emily Martha Sorensen
Ten Songs of Halloween-Larry Hodges
Four Spirits of Christmas – Julia LaFond
Late at Night, In the Bathtub, A Snowman Panics-Mark Teppo
Crop Circles-Carter Lappin
Krampus at the Craft Fair-Sarina Dorie
The Tannenbombers-James Edward O’Brien
Chinese New Year’s Resolution-Robert Jeschonek
The Afterthought-Jenna Hanchey
Scream Stream-Gordon Linzner
Ne’er Day-Andrew L. Roberts
Soul For It-Mir Rainbird
Twelve Silver Candles-Emily Munro
Something Wicked-Evan Davies
Silent Night-Liam Hogan
The Apocalypse Was Glorious, My Darlings-Paula Hammond
Last Mission-Alex J. Smith
Cupid’s Confession-Alicia Hilton
I’ve been dipping into it, and really looking forward to reading the whole thing.
I’m so delighted! My story, Genetic Changelings, has been translated into Italian and published in the anthology “Internetwork” which includes 8 stories and a number of essays on the future of work. The anthology is published by Future Fiction. Here it is on their website: https://www.futurefiction.org/internetwork/
Thank you, Francesco Verso for selecting this story and seeing it through the long journey of translation and publication!
My story, Happily Ever After in Twelve Stained Glass Panels, is in the Mosaics anthology that’s going to the moon, as part of the Lunar Codex!
“The #LunarCodex welcomes the editors, illustrators, and authors of the MOSAICS books – inducting them into the Polaris time capsule to be archived for the future via the 2023 SpaceX / Astrobotic Griffin / NASA VIPER rover mission to the Lunar South Pole
“Curated by Kim Wells and Pavarti K Tyler, with editors Crystal Watanabe and Jessica West, the volumes collect writing from independent feminist authors. Including short and flash fiction , stories, poetry, essays, and art, Mosaics is a multi-faceted look at the history and culture surrounding femininity.”
I’d been away for a couple of weeks, and when I got back I found this wonderful thing waiting for me: Contributor copies of the Dark Cheer – Cryptids Emerging (Volume Silver). . I am so thrilled to have my story “Chicken Monster Motel” republished in this anthology.
There’s one hardcover and one paperback. The table of contents looks exciting. I’m looking forward to reading this!
After the delightful success of the Drawtober Autumn Woods art prompts – with a different creature for each day, Jenn Reese, Deva Fagan, and Steven Brezenoff launched the Winter Lights 2021 art challenge. This was slower paced, with only 7 prompts spread through December. Some of us were also trying new media for us: My Autumn Woods pictures were all in black pens on yellow stickies, but I decided to try digital painting for Winter Lights, using Paint 3D. In addition, I decided to make each picture relate to the previous ones.
Here’s a summary of pictures I made (with the Winter Lights prompts in the last square).
If you’d like to see each picture in more detail, here they are as a slideshow.
The review totally got to the heart of the poem. “A nice and rather wicked piece that speaks to me of roles and of consequence.”
I love Charles’s reviews. They’re kind and insightful, and I usually end up reading several of the stories – or poems – reviewed. There’s also a new “Scales of Relative Grimness” to establish how dark the content and tone of the reviewed stories are. Which I find very valuable, and hope to see become more widespread.
And the table of contents looks really intriguing, as does the book description from the Improbable Press website:
For the lovers of things that go bump in the night
Here be stories of South African grootslang and bayou grundylow, tales of elementals, jackalopes, and flying motels.
Within you’ll find tiny leviathans and rock whales, cambion and kelpie, a girl between time, and a man who saves a gun’s life.
These are stories of cryptids who sing or swim or save us, living side-by-side so often unseen…and then seen.
So very much seen.
If we look.
With more than 35 stories, and 320+ pages, Volume Silver includes tales by:
• Ali Habashi: Landlocked
• Amy Lynwander: Pg At The Park
• Angel Whelan: Healer’s Song
• Alison Mcbain: The Development
• Brian Trent: Love Song Of The Wendigo
• Carman Curton: Various
• Carter Lappin: Road Trip
• Dominick Cancilla: Mysterious Travelers
• Elizabeth Walker: Pics Or It Didn’t Happen
• Eric Shlayfer: The Kyivan Song
• Euan Lim: The Beauty In The Unexpected
• Evadare Volney: New Song For The Old Canary
• Evan Baughfman: Life And Limb
• Frances Pauli: Original Activist
• George Ivanoff: The Heart Of Gervascio
• G.V. Pearce: Falling For Her
• Jeff Davis: Old Friend
• Julie Ann Rees: The Grundylow
• Keyan Bowes: Chicken Monster Motel
• Louis Evans: Baba Yaga’s Apprentice
• Madeline Pine: Loud Came The Rain
• Marlaina Cockcroft: Leviathan
• Marshall Moore: Lakers
• Merinda Brayfield: From The Ashes
• Mikal Trimm: Huffenpuff
• Neethu Krishnan: Fireflies And Thieves
• Nora Bailey: The Beast In The Deep
• Parker Foye: Grim Up North
• Rick Hodges: The Goat-Boy Paradigm
• Rl Meza: Enfield
• Robert Bagnell: The Hundred Dollar Fortune
• Robert Pipkin: The Jackalope
• Sarina Dorie: A Guide For The Lover Of Jorogumo
• Shawna Borman: The Water Horse
• Simon Kewin: The Monster
• Tom Velterop: Nights Without Dreams
• Yvette Lisa Ndlovu: When Death Comes To Find You
PREORDERS ARE AVAILABLE
The books are available for preorder on the website: $7.95 for an electronic version, $21.95 for the paperback, and $29.95 for the hardcover. If you buy both Dark Cheer volumes in hardback or paperback, you receive an automatic 20% discount.
The other day, I discovered on Google an odd concatenation of my name with a 2018 academic conference in Vienna. I hadn’t been to any such conference, so I was curious.
With a deeper dive, I found that Simon Whybrew at the University of Graz was presenting a paper on transgender in Science Fiction, and had used my story “Spoiling Veena” in the analysis.
I was surprised and thrilled. Here’s the abstract of the paper as published in the program for the 45th Austrian Association for American Studies Conference.
“Disappearing into the Future? Reclaiming Transgender Experiences in Contemporary US Science Fiction”
Simon Whybrew (University of Graz)
Science fiction (sf) has long been fascinated with transgender phenomena. Nevertheless, the genre’s authors have been reluctant to acknowledge humanity’s inherent transness. Rather, sf stories have largely viewed trans potentialities exclusively through the lens of medical and technological advancement. Thus, trans identities have often been transposed onto alien societies or dissolved into futuristic, cisnormative fantasies of perfect gender transformation. As a result, transgender histories, identities, and becoming have largely been absent from these texts. Instead, the focus has been on the promise of temporary, cisnormative gender mobility.
The recent publication of four anthologies of sf short stories by trans authors provides a significant challenge to this legacy of trans erasure. In this paper, I will explore how the authors of these stories employ the genre’s conventions to subvert its normative tendencies and write trans identities into the future. To do this, I will compare John Varley’s 1992 novel “Steel Beach” with K.M. Szpara’s “Nothing is Pixels Here” and Keyan Bowes’ “Spoiling Veena.”
It made me remember the time I found another academic reference to another of my stories – this time, “The Souk of Dreams.” John Patrick Pazdziora (University of St. Andrews) presented a paper “Enchanted Conversations: The Reverse Adaptation of Fairy Tales in Online Culture” at a conference in Ghent in January 2010. Here’s the quote:
“The hopeful tales read more like short fantasies than fairy tales. ‘The Souk of Dreams’ by Keyan Bowes, for instance, is a touching romance about a gay couple who rediscover their faith in love and human goodness. However, the setting of the tale—a fantasy market in the desert—is described much like a sci-fi convention with real extraterrestrials. Any moorings to mythic versions of fairy tales have been cast off. Hope is discovered in reinventing according to a new medium—speculative fiction. Reverse adaptations are primarily to rebuke and tear down the alleged deceptions of childhood.”
I am glad these stories are reaching beyond their usual audiences into the wonderful world of academe.
Last weekend, I attended the second Flights of Foundry(FoF) virtual convention. It was quite amazing. It aimed to be global for April 17th and 18th , so programming actually started on April 16th in the US… they had a total of 300 hours of programs! Of course I didn’t attend all of it. There was no way.
So I split my time between panels (which were on Webex but disseminated via YouTube, with a chat on Discord alongside) and author readings, which were in Webex and allowed the audience to see each other and interact. Everything I attended was awesome.
The highlight for me was a launch party for Constelacion, the Spanish-English bilingual magazine. It publishes everything in both languages. Editors Coral Alejandra Moore and Eliana Gonzalez Ugarte were Guests of Honor at FoF. Coral invited me to read my story, The Excruciating Beauty of Ephemera, published in their first issue, at the party. Which I did. And then, when I said I’d love to hear it in Spanish, Eliana obliged. Though I don’t speak Spanish, it sounded so good.
Another author, read from her story Imilla, in Spanish. I followed along in English, and immediately went and read the whole thing. And the whole magazine, to which I have a subscription.
I’m really excited that my story, “The Excruciating Beauty of Ephemera” is out in the first issue of Constelacion magazine. In English and Spanish! It’s about a sentient volcano trying to do better.
“The slopes of the sentient volcano were covered with dying purple frogs. Vultures and other scavengers perched on the trees and picked at the little corpses. The volcano shuddered in agonies of guilt. Were the gases it emitted responsible? “
The illustration for the story is perfect!
And look at this cover!
Edited to Add:
I was delighted to find this story reviewed in Quick Sips reviews from Charles Payseur.
“The Excruciating Beauty of Ephemera” by Keyan Bowes (short story) – A strange and almost mythological story of a volcano distressed about the destruction it authors, seeking a way to live and let live, and finding an answer from a mysterious source. Grim but also kinda cute.
Back in January 2019, Mysterion reprinted my story, “Lepers.” (This may be my most-reprinted story by now!)
Anyway, Donald Crankshaw and Kristen Janz, the editors of Mysterion, have brought out a beautiful paperback anthology collecting the stories they published in 2018-19. “Lepers” is in it.
This is a really good anthology. Its values are humane (not necessarily religious), its characters intriguing. In most anthologies, I like perhaps half the stories. In this one, I liked them all. (I also love that atmospheric cover art!)
What a great way to start 2021! My story, “Wildest Dreams” appeared in the Flame Tree Fiction Newsletter for January. It’s about a purveyor of Nightmares.
“The market’s saturated,” said Tey. The four of us lounged around the Starbucks table, sipping our coffee and arguing. Friends since college, arguing was what we did. “Once the dream-download software went open-source, everyone and their aunt got into the business. Online search’ll get you 19 million hits, minimum.”
“Right,’ I said. “What we’ll offer is downloadable nightmares.”
“Nightmares?” laughed Dany. “Who’d buy those?”
This story was written to their call for science fiction about online nightmares. I’m so pleased they accepted it!
My story, Blowing Hell-glass: A Step-by-Step Guide is out in the June 2020 issue of Helios Quarterly. This is one of the rare cases (for me!) where the story sold very soon after it was written – last year. I also rarely write horror, but this is one. The magazine is available on the website of the publisher Aurelia Leo, and on Amazon, both in e-versions.
The other day, I found in my in-box a letter from World Fantasy Con, asking if I’d like to submit a digital signature. Busy with other things, I put it in my mental file labeled Things to Get Around To. But today, it came with a reminder that the deadline was Sept 24 2020.
They had linked a signature maker, but I wasn’t happy with the results. So I thought I’d cobble something together in MSPaint, my favorite emergency illustration software. My first try was just a signature using one of the included fonts. It was okay, though impersonal.
I thought I’d design my own – something that would work for fantasy and for science fiction, vaguely contemporary and playful. And which I could complete in about 30 minutes, because I was running out of time.
This is the result. I’m quite happy with it, at least for now.