October Events – Archon and Left Bank Books

During WorldCon in San Jose, I got to catch up with many of the friends I left behind in California. Between 3-4 local conventions per year and Borderlands Books serving as hubs of activity, the community there is as strong as ever. In Saint Louis, that community orbits around Archon and Left Bank Books. If you’re interested in getting to know some of the other pros, fans, and creative types at all levels, come hang out this October!

SF/STL! Wednesday, October 24, 7pm

Left Bank Books and Archon are proud to present SF/STL! A reading series for SFF authors and readers alike. I met Marina J. Lostetter at WorldCon, and I’m happy to say she’ll be joining us to celebrate her book, Noumenon Infinity!

Archon 42! October 12 – 14, 2018

Friday

  • Science and Fantasy: Where the Magic Lies
    17:00 – 18:00, Marquette A (Gateway Center)
    Why do science fiction and fantasy get so often placed in opposition? Are there fundamental differences between scientific and magical worldviews, in fiction and beyond? Or are these just different sources of wonder?
    Joey Froehlich (M), Christine Amsden, Setsu Uzume, Kasey Mackenzie, Charlie Jane Anders

Saturday

  • What is Your Process?
    10:00 – 11:00, St. Clair A & B (DoubleTree – Collinsville)
    Pen and paper, room completely silent, 20 year old notes? What is the best way for you to create your stories? Do you ever change it up?
    Donna J. W. Munro (M), Eddie Wilson, Setsu Uzume, Kathleen Collins, Dr. Mike Phoenix
  • I Have a Great Idea!: How to Submit and Run a Panel at Archon
    13:00 – 14:00, Illini A (Gateway Center)
    Interested in running a panel, but unsure how to get started or what to do? Panel veterans to the rescue!
    Setsu Uzume (M), Mr. Vito Pandolfo, Erin McFadden, Donald Price
  • Religion and its Place in Science Fiction and Fantasy
    15:00 – 16:00, Madison C & D (DoubleTree – Collinsville)
    Plenty of our favorite worlds have their own religion, or have a mix of real world religions. How do they stem from what we know in the real world?
    Setsu Uzume (M), David Benem, Benjamin C. Kinney, Ms Judi Cook

Sunday

  • The Hero Quest
    10:00 – 11:00, Marquette A (Gateway Center)
    The original story. How to use it within your writing and make it yours.
    Mr Brian Trent (M), Setsu Uzume, Jimmy D. Gillentine, Mrs. E Susan Baugh, Donna J.W. Munro
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Forthcoming: They Keep Killing Glenn

Just sold “For Whom the Bell LOLs,” a short story about a social media algorithm that makes friends with a Russian missile satellite. The anthology will be available in July 2018 from Peter David and Crazy 8 Press.

The submission call was a result of joke at a convention panel, when someone suggested they take all the ideas for how to kill Glenn and turn them into an anthology. The audience responded with, “I’d read that.” Glenn Hauman graciously agreed, and here we are.

Many thanks to Peter David and Crazy 8 Press. Thanks also to Joe Gergis, who helped me with the technical language.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction
They Keep Killing Me: A Foreword of Last Words
The Killing Croak by David Gerrold
The Look on Your Face by David Mack
Revenge of the Clipper Kin by Joe Corallo
“Is it You?” by Bob Greenberger
The Hardwicke Files: The Case of Hauman’s Comet by Russ Colchamiro
House Hunting by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Patient Zero by Dean Scott
Buried in Books by Mary Fan
The Case of the Industrial Revolution by Kathleen O’Shea David
For Whom the Bell LOLs by Setsu Uzume
Too Damn Tall by Lorraine J. Anderson
DuckBob: All In by Aaron Rosenberg
R is for Roadster by Blair Learn
The Long and the Short of It by Brett Hudgins
Marathon by S. Brady Calhoun
For Cockeysville by Michael Jan Friedman
Rhino by Amy Lewanski
Waking Things by Jenifer Purcell Rosenberg
The Day of Killing Endlessly by Paul Kupperberg
That’s All, Folks by Peter David

 

Here’s how the sausage was made:

When I sent in the manuscript, the editor’s response was, “what did you send me? Is this the right file? Glenn’s name doesn’t seem to be in it.” In keeping with the story’s tone, Glenn is referred to by his Facebook account number.

Glenn also frequently posts/shares articles about the egregious misuse of guns with the comment, “Today in Responsible Gun Ownership, [person A] [uses a gun] and [it goes poorly].”

The other story I pitched, about a cursed hovercat out for blood, has yet to be written.

Narration Stuff – Audacity Shortcuts and 30 Seconds of Room Tone

A collection of stuff so I can find it later.

Room Tone file and Noise Reduction

  • Room tone is solely the sound of your environment once you’ve cleared all the elements you can control (like buzzing lights, fans, vents, etc.).
  • Make all the recording adjustments (recording level, gain, etc.) you plan to use for your recording.
  • Make a 35-second recording.
  • Trim beginning and end so you don’t include the clicks and movements associated with starting/stopping the recording.
  • Final recording should be somewhere between 10 and 30 seconds.
  • Re-record whenever you enter a new recording environment, or if you move your mic.

Noise is anything beyond what you’re trying to capture — like the sound of a laptop while trying to record your voice. Make sure the room tone file is free of bumps, stomach gurgles, and any other evidence of your presence.  Using this “blank” file, you’ll be able to create a noise profile you can use for cleaning up the sound in later recordings.

Caveat: I’m not sure if a long average (30 seconds of room noise) is more or less reliable for noise reduction than 5 seconds before and after the recording done that day. For example, there’s ambient birdsong in April that wouldn’t add to the noise profile for a December recording. This will be an ongoing experiment.

Audacity Keyboard Shortcuts

Recording Shortcuts Function
 P Pause
 R Record
 Spacebar Play/Stop (toggle)
 B Play from Cursor to Selection
 1 1 second preview
Navigation Shortcuts Function
 CTRL + 1  Zoom In
 CTRL + 2  Zoom Normal
 CTRL + 3  Zoom Out
 CTRL + E  Zoom To Selection
 CTRL + F  Fit In Window
 CTRL + Shift + F  Fit Vertically
 CTRL + R  Repeat Last Effect
Save/File Shortcuts Function
 CTRL + I  Import Audio
 CTRL + N  New Project
 CTRL + O  Open Project
 CTRL + S  Save Project
 CTRL + W  Close Project
 CTRL + P (CMD + ,)  Audacity Preferences
Editing Shortcuts Function
 F1  Selection Tool
 F2  Envelope Tool
 F3  Draw Tool
 F4  Zoom Tool
 F5  Time Shift Tool
 F6  Multi-Tool Mode
 D  Next Tool
 A  Previous Tool

Forthcoming: Sword and Sonnet

Sword & Sonnet

Sword & Sonnet is coming in 2018!

The project editors are Aidan Doyle, Rachael K. Jones and E. Catherine Tobler. As well as having editorial experience with PodCastle and Shimmer, they’re also award-nominated writers. The stunning cover art is by Vlada Monakhova.

For publication news and information on how to order, check out their website.

My story, She Calls Down the Future in the Footprints Left Behind, is about a tribe of steppe raiders that get really high before each fight so their seer can predict how it will go. Then they attack the village where she was born.

This is my third pro-rate sale, which opens some doors and closes others. Here’s how the sausage was made:

Having read the editors’ work for a few years now, I had a sense of editorial taste, and an idea of how the story would go long before I sat down to write. It’s unusual for things to go so smoothly, and I’m savoring the luck while I have it.

Per the recommended reading, Shimmer tends toward lush and lovely language regardless of the subject matter. Also, figures like Sei Shōnagon conjure a sense of  erudition found at the height of civilized societies. I didn’t really feel I could do justice to these prompts, but I do love sword and sorcery. Maybe there’d be something in oral traditions and earlier forms that could fit.

I had thought about how to write the seer (ultimately named Naicto) for weeks, trying to work out how her powers functioned and possible plot consequences. The original plan was that she’d have to get to know all the fighters really well in order to record their deeds accurately (and consult with the chief who would live and die, then read out the prediction like an epic poem); but those elements felt too involved to work at this length.

With the deadline coming up, I wrote the first half of the story on a Saturday morning, got stuck, figured out how to fix it while taking a shower (don’t watch the fight from afar, do the reveal in the middle of the fight!), then wrote the second half that afternoon. I gave myself more room for poetic language than usual, because the plot itself was simple. A reread or two, and off it went.

The result was a speculative spin on drummers, psychoactive drug rituals described in books like Food of the Gods, and the transition from an oracular culture to a pragmatic one — learning from the past rather than chasing the future.

It’s not a poet’s tale, but just as every computer has a knapped stone in its ancestry, every poetic form began as a wordless rhythm and a need to remember.

While the drums in most Stabbing Westward songs certainly capture the mood of this story, here’s what I had on repeat while I was working. I love the drums, and most especially the way her voice frays when she belts at full volume.

Forthcoming: Tales from the Magician’s Skull

Anthology announcement: Tales From the Magician’s Skull!

If you enjoyed the world of “For Honor, For Waste,” I’ve got another short story coming out that takes place on the same continent.

Rather than the soldier’s tale of Rohnaq and friends, we’ll be introducing a new city, new laws, new mages, and their bloody quest for power and freedom.

My story, “Break Them on the Drowning Stones,” will be forthcoming in this pulpy ‘zine on June 15, 2018 from Goodman Games. Pre-order today!

The Best of PodCastle: Vote for Your Favorite Episodes!

Nominations are closed, and the final ballot is revealed! We’re now asking fans and frequent listeners to vote for their favorite episodes from the ballot. The top five PodCastle episodes, as voted by fans, will be featured in a special later this year!

You can find the survey here. Vote now!

Haven’t listened to all the episodes? New to PodCastle?  Each one is linked below.

Episode 1: “Come Lady Death” by Peter S. Beagle
Episode 20: “Cup and Table” by Tim Pratt
Episode 51: “The Cambist and Lord Iron” by Daniel Abraham
Episode 88: “Another End of the Empire” by Tim Pratt
Episode 92: “Sir Hereward and Mr. Fitz Go to War Again” by Garth Nix
Episode 93: “The Mermaid’s Tea Party” by Samantha Henderson
Episode 136: “The Christmas Mummy” by Heather Shaw & Tim Pratt
Episode 147: “Card Sharp” by Rajan Khanna
Episode 154: “Sinners, Saints, Dragons, and Haints, in the City Under the Still Waters” by N.K. Jemisin
Episode 165: “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu
Episode 186: “Beyond the Sea Gate of the Scholar Pirates of Sarskoe” by Garth Nix
Episode 200: “In the Stacks” by Scott Lynch
Episode 211: “The Axiom of Choice” by David W. Goldman
Episode 214: “We Never Talk About My Brother” by Peter S. Beagle
Episode 254: “Sundae” by Matt Wallace
Episode 324: “Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy” by Saladin Ahmed
Episode 336: “Why I Bought Satan Two Cokes on the Day I Graduated High School” by Nathaniel Lee
Episode 345: “Makeisha in Time” by Rachael K. Jones
Episode 354: “The Sea of Wives” by Nathaniel Lee
Episode 356: “Super-Baby-Moms Group Saves the Day” by Tina Connolly
Episode 385: “Where Monsters Dance” by A. Merc Rustad
Episode 405: “Beat Softly My Wings of Steel” by Beth Cato
Episode 409: “The Husband Stitch” by Carmen Maria Machado
Episode 413: “This is Not A Wardrobe Door” by A. Merc Rustad
Episode 427: “Squalor and Sympathy” by Matt Dovey
Episode 438: “Defy the Grey Kings” by Jason Fischer
Episode 458: “Home is a House that Loves You” by Rachael K. Jones
Episode 467: “How I Became Coruscating Queen of All the Realms, Pierced the Obsidian Night, Destroyed a Legendary Sword, and Saved My Heart’s True Love” by Baker & Dovey
Episode 487: “A Whisper in the Weld” by Alix E. Harrow
Episode 490: “The Names of the Sky” by Matthew Claxton
Episode 501: “The Christmas Abomination from Beyond the Back of the Stars” by Heather Shaw & Tim Pratt
Episode 506: “La Gorda and the City of Silver” by Sabrina Vourvoulias

More information on PodCastle, voting, and all manner of awesomeness on their website.

Signal Horizon reviews “Jamcoi”

“Violence that isn’t designed to drive us apart but designed bring us together.”

Signal Horizon was kind enough to review a story I read for Pseudopod called “Jamcoi,” by J.M. McDermott, a tale about feast-prep for the holidays.

Fun fact, “Jamcoi” was challenging to record because
1, I couldn’t stop laughing
2, my stomach kept growling, and
3, I had to find the right balance between horrified screaming and not blowing out the recording levels.

All hails to Pseudopod and the inimitable J.M. McDermott for putting together this story. Thank you, and happy feasting.