Good Genes published at the Future Fire!

“Good Genes,” is now available to read at the Future Fire as part of their 38th issue, or Issue 2016.38 in the magazine’s parlance.

the Future Fire issue 2006.38

I am super glad it was published just in time for Halloween as it’s a spooky story, and a bit of an epic one, combining a modern-day tale with a narrative from the Wild West stage of American history. Sometimes, a place a refuge may bring more horror than the past left behind…

Good Genes Artist Pear Nuallak

Artwork by Pear Nuallak

The illustration posted above is one of two that accompany “Good Genes” in the Future Fire. Both are done by Pear Nuallak, and I love when my stories get a little pictorial boost! Read the magazine online to see the second one! Here’s the link directly to the story. And here’s a new teaser for you:

The noise of the carnival had died down as the ceremonial hour approached and the townspeople made their way to the gathering place in a trickle. Clumps of dry needles covered brittle pine cones hanging from a handful of trees. The great lawn was a patchwork of mud-filled trenches, struggling green grasses, and yellowed squares that had given up the fight. A faded wicker pavilion rose up at the park’s eastern edge, in front of a free-standing wall of cement—handball courts? Two banners strung across the stage declared “Heritage Festival” and “May Our Founders Live Forever.”

There are other great reasons to tune in to Issue 2016.38 — free short stories by authors Ola Al-Fateh, Petra Kuppers, Kelly Rose Pflug-Back, and Damien Krsteski, and poetry by F. J. Bergmann! I look forward to reading them all. As Editor Djibril al-Ayad describes the collection:

“Not everything is what it seems—sometimes unseen terrors lurk in every shadow, around every corner, beneath an unassuming countenance or behind unthreatening doors. We might be pleasantly surprised by the resilience of a people we expected to collapse in defeat, and we could be equally shocked by the creeping bigotry and xenophobia of our smiling neighbors. Surprises are at the heart of dramatic tension, and hidden depths and dark secrets are a recurring theme in the stories in this month’s issue.”

Feel free to leave me your reactions to “Good Genes” or comment on it at the Future Fire blog. Whatever you do, try not to take your next next cough too seriously…

 

 

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Catch the Hydra (and me!) Reading on 10/25!

Last week, I was invited to join the Hydra literary series for their spooky Halloween reading, and of course, I said yes. Read my horror? I look forward to any spine-chilling I can cause!

What: The Hydra #7 Reading Series!
Where: Woods Bar & Brewery, 1701 Telegraph, Downtown Oakland
When: 7 pm.

More details at the Facebook event page!

The Hydra is hosted by the Association of Black and Brown Writers, an affliate of Oakland’s own Nomadic Press. The series is inspired by the six-headed creature of myth, woken from beneath Mt. Diablo as the Bay Area burst into the poetry scene! Knighted keeper of the beast, Ursula K. Le Guin, declared “With the popularity of poetry readings in the Bay Area, the heads of the beast are growing back at an alarming rate, and the only thing that will slow down the beast is the inclusion of more fiction in the literary scene. We need stories of mythical beasts stronger than the Hydra. We need stories of worlds that is not the world it remembers, or maybe stories of lands the Hydra knows all too well. We need stories of heroes that can destroy it, and villians greater than it. We need experimental stories, we need short stories, we need fiction. Fiction is the only thing that will down the beast for once and for all. Counteract the poetry that is making the beast grow, and do it now.”

I am happy to do my part in this battle against the Hydra and will be reading at least two short stories as my weapons. And if we can get it right this time, Ben will Facebook Live it as well. 😉

But an in-person audience is always best! Hope to see you there.

cat yawning mazu

Mazu gives away the ending of one of my tales…

 

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“Good Genes” Forthcoming from the Future Fire!

Announcements of upcoming short story publications don’t normally take me right up until they’re available, but … I’ve been busy, y’all. Busy in the greatest of ways, career-wise, which is a wonderful feeling but also means I don’t keep my various websites as updated as I’d like with the most current information. So forgive me for posting this announcement just a couple of weeks before the story itself will be available…

The Future Fire magazine stories

Issue #37

…that said, I am so excited that “Good Genes” has found a home in upcoming Issue #38 of the Future Fire! This magazine has been running strong since 2005, making it quite long-lived among electronic fiction magazines, no matter the genre. “Good Genes” is one of my favorite short stories, though it’s had a bit of a struggle to find the right publisher as, at 10,000 words, it’s much longer that many magazines are willing to publish. I am excited that the Future Fire has no fear of lengthier short stories, and I hope you all will enjoy this horror and Weird West mash-up tale in which a modern-day family and a group of 1850s settlers find out that a chosen place of refuge is sometimes scarier than the danger left behind.

Here are your teaser first few lines:

$450. 2 BR, 1 BA, 800 sq. ft. Available now. Enos. 555-987-0342.

Rockie halted her clicking of the refresh button, the advertisement text cutting her free from the train tracks. Her cellphone’s touchscreen confounded her shaky fingers, but after three tries she pressed the right keys. Ten minutes later, grateful the landlord had asked as few questions as she had, Rockie refreshed the webpage. The text disappeared from the screen and her frantic packing resumed.

I will also tell you that this short story was inspired by an experience the parents of one of my best friends in high school had, driving along a very small town very late at night to find many of its residents strangely standing outside in their front yards as they passed. Let’s just say I am never going to pass that way myself. Here also are a pair of photographs to set the mood.

Yosemite canyon view

Winston-Salem downtown park

I’ll let you know as soon as I do once “Good Genes” goes live at the Future Fire, along with a handful of what’s sure to be exciting stories from other speculative fiction authors. Stay tuned!

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