Good news! My vampire cyberpunk novel Close Your Eyes and Run has just gotten a brand new cover created by the talented Eleonora Gueli. It looks amazing, doesn’t it?
To celebrate, I’m making the book available to download for free on Amazon from now until Friday, so be sure to check it out!
Back when I originally wrote Close Your Eyes and Run, I was a big fan of Neal Stephenson’s cyberpunk novel Snow Crash as well as Anne Rice’s novel Interview with the Vampire and I thought, why not combine the two together? The book ended up becoming something quite different than a simple combination of those two novels since I included several other miscellaneous influences as well, but that was my starting point.
Anyway, if you read my novel and like it, be sure to leave a review on Amazon since that helps other people find the book. I hope you enjoy!
“The Dead Duck Diner capsuled a corner just two fingers short of the waterfront. It gleamed like the wet fin of some imaginary car, all sleazy chrome against the fast-forward decay of the esplanade. Festooned with rotisserie jungle chicken, pink-on-green neon, and loud checkerboard trim, it bubbled with all the indigestible traffic from the strip. You name the parasite, and their umbilical leavings would be smeared along the linoleum countertops: robo-jox, the bitchdoctors, all the sailor drek, cyborg love bunnies, bible jerkjumpers, jewel shifters, soldier camp dropouts, alien trannies, cannibal hobo freak shows, keyboard cowboys, jungle mummies, the whole carnival sucked through the place like a vacuum cleaner and gathered like gunk in the filters.” Continue reading
I’m about a month late getting to this, but back in September, Drabblecast released their 415th episode, “The Best Scarlet Ceremony Ever!” written by Shaenon K. Garrity and narrated by Renee Chambliss. You can read/listen to it here.
This is like Christmas come early for me. Not only did my favorite podcast release an episode written by my favorite comedic writer, but it’s also read by my favorite narrator! It doesn’t get much better than this. Continue reading
In the world of The Black Tides of Heaven, children are born without gender. They usually choose whether they want to be male or female by the time they’re in their mid- to late teens. Some children get their gender as young as three and some don’t decide until after their teens. There’s a vague reference to this involving a trip to the doctors, so this seems to be a world in which being trans is the norm. It creates an interesting effect since readers won’t know which gender, if either, a character will pick once they get older. Continue reading
When we first meet Aqib, he’s taking the prince’s cheetah for a walk. We learn he is charged with taking care of the royal menagerie. He’s a member of the privileged class due to being a distant cousin to royalty. He’s also a bit of a snob and disdainful of the working class.
Aqib meets a foreign soldier named Lucrio who speaks in modern slang. This pulled me out of the fantasy world for a moment, but I soon learned that he spoke this way to indicate that he’s lower class and he learned to speak Olorumi from sailors. Lucrio’s native language is Latin (or a language very similar to it). He comes from Daluçan which is a land reminiscent of ancient Rome.
The two fall in love, although there are obstacles to their romance including Aqib’s homophobic brother, pressure from Aqib’s family to marry a high-born woman to raise the family’s status, and the fact that homosexuality is forbidden by Aqib’s religion.
The author sometimes doesn’t put dialogue in quotes or suddenly summarizes what was said, which is an interesting style. The story is also told out of order, but there’s a reason for this that becomes evident towards the end. The surprising reason the book is titled A Taste of Honey isn’t revealed until the end either.
There’s a lot of great world-building here. Olorumi is an interesting place where physics and math are considered women’s work. Magic gets introduced to the story towards the end. We learn certain people have supernatural abilities and we meet the Ashëans who are referred to as gods because of both their magical power and their high level of technology including holograms. The sudden introduction of magic and technology into the book towards the end was a bit jarring, but I think the author pulled it off.
Passing Strange by Ellen Klages starts in the present day. An elderly woman named Helen learns that she doesn’t have long to live. She’s not overly troubled by this, but she does have a few things she wants to do before she dies, including selling a piece of artwork to a rare book dealer. Continue reading
The anthology Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel (which I contributed a story to) just won a League of Utah Writer’s Gold Quill award for Published Collection! The award was presented at the Quills Conference last Saturday. I wasn’t able to attend, but it sounds like it was a blast.
My story that appears in the collection, “The Miracle of the Gulls”, is partly based on the true story of Olive Oatman, partly based on the miracle of the gulls event from Mormon history, and also a little bit inspired by the Hell on Wheels television series. It’s a steampunk story featuring zeppelins and mechanical men, so it’s not exactly historical fiction, although I did read Olive Oatman’s 1857 biography for research and sprinkled a lot of old-fashioned words into the narrative for flavor. I loved working with editor John M. Olsen on the story. His suggestions improved the story a lot.
If you haven’t read this award-winning anthology yet, be sure to give it a read.
Disorder is a collection of horror stories released by Amazon and free to read for Amazon Prime members. I present the stories below in the order I read them.
“The Best Girls” by Min Jin Lee takes place in Seoul, South Korea in 1989. A poor couple who have only girls are overjoyed when they finally have a boy because he’ll actually be able to get a good job and be able to provide for the family while the girls cannot. His older sisters aren’t upset that their little brother gets special treatment, they acknowledge that, given the culture they live in, he is considered more valuable than them. This actually wasn’t a horror story until the final, brutal sentence. Continue reading
“The Work of Wolves” by Tegan Moore is probably the best story I’ve read so far in the pages of Asimov’s. (Why didn’t the author get her name on the cover when there was enough room for all the authors’ names there?) Our viewpoint character is Sera, a search and rescue dog who has been artificially enhanced. Sera’s human handler isn’t used to working with an enhanced dog, so Sera has to train her. Because she doesn’t act like a regular dog, people are uneasy around her. I liked this description of a drone: “The sound of it is like an itch inside my head, where I can’t reach it. It is like the feeling before a sneeze.” It also describes the sound of a drone as wasp-like. (Coincidentally, I was reading this while camping and mistook a passing drone for a wasp at first.) Sera ends up having to chase a rat being controlled by terrorists though a power plant. A very enjoyable read with a surprise ending I did not see coming.
“The American highway is a self-contained system, Stan thought. Its rest stops have video games, bathrooms, restaurants, and gas stations. There’s no reason ever to leave the interstate highway system, its deadness and perfection and freedom. When you do reach your exit, you always have a slight sense of loss, as when awakening from a dream.” Continue reading