Sale: Hungry Ghosts to Black Static

I'm so pleased to announce that I've sold my short story "Hungry Ghosts" to the superb British horror/dark fantasy market Black Static. This is my first sale of 2015 and the first time I've sold a story that takes place in my homeland (my homeland referring in this case to the forests of northern New England).

The story is currently slated for release in March, both in print and online. It's a story about alienation and fitting in (or not) and family curses and the particular nature of New England ghosts. The haunted house in the tale--all faded wallpaper and creaking floorboards--is based on a house where I once lived, outside Boston. I hope you all like it (the story, not the house. The house was both a miserable and magical place to live).

Sales: The City Dreams of Bird-Men & Speaking to Skull Kings

I'm pleased to close out the month of May by announcing two more sales. "Speaking to Skull Kings," a strange slipstream-y dark fairytale about two lost children in the woods, will appear in Betwixt Magazine in July 2014. And "The City Dreams of Bird-Men," a dark fantasy set in early modern Prague and involving bones, plague and heartbreak, will appear in Fantasy Scroll Magazine, a new market that's already published lots of award-winning and exemplary authors. I'm very excited to have found a home for both of these stories, and to appear in these exciting new markets.

Sale: Not the Grand Duke's Dancer

I'm quite happy to announce that my short story "Not the Grand Duke's Dancer" will appear in issue #5 of The Dark, an online magazine of dark and strange fiction. This is my first Odyssey story to find a home-- the story began its life as a much shorter piece that I read at the Odyssey Science Fiction and Fantasy Slam. This is a tradition at the workshop where halfway through the hectic six weeks of writing and critiquing, Odyssey students take a break to road trip from Manchester, N.H. to a Barnes and Noble in Nashua, N.H., where they read flash fiction pieces. This was one of my first experiences reading my writing out loud, and while it was nerve-wracking (my parents were there!), I do think it's an essential skill for any writer to develop. At any rate, when I returned home from the workshop, I expanded the piece to its current form, and here we are.

This story contains many of my favorite things: bones! Train travel through Europe! A veiled reference to Rasputin! It also switches settings quite a few times in its 3400 words. I'm a very visual person/writer, and I love designing sets and settings and scenery for my stories. When I was writing this story, I referenced several places and cities that I've visited. As a preview of the tale, I thought I'd include some of the photos that I used to write the story:


Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, an important setting in the story.

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DSC01153

Also pictured: 18-year-old me, imagination whirring, no doubt. 

Hot air balloons rising over Stockholm. This image has always stuck with me--I took this picture on a lazy summer evening, at about 9 p.m., because it stays light quite late in Scandinavia in the summer. I was sitting with one of my best friends by the water, eating violet ice cream. I'm glad I was able to insert such a happy memory into a story.

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муми 023

A view of Munich. One pivotal scene in this story takes place in a cursed church in Munich, which I based on the Frauenkirche, the church on the left in this picture, which has several interesting legends attached to it.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Highgate Cemetery in London, which I visited when I was studying abroad in London, because I do love visiting cemeteries (to no one's surprise). Karl Marx is buried here, and many people believe it inspired several scenes in Bram Stoker's Dracula.

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Of course, this story isn't all fun and games and frolicking through Europe on a magical tour. I also drew on negative and bittersweet experiences--especially those involving relationships-- to write this story. Which just goes to show you that the old cliche is true: no experience is ever wasted for a writer.

Anyway, I'm pleased this story found a home, and I hope you enjoy it when it comes out in August.

Sale: The Rondelium Girl of Rue Marseilles

So very pleased to announce that Michael Bailey of Written Backwards has accepted a story of mine, "The Rondelium Girl of Rue Marseilles," for his upcoming horror/science fiction anthology Qualia Nous. Michael Bailey is the editor extraordinaire behind Chiral Mad 2 (my first professional sale) and I'm honestly so excited to appear in another of his anthologies, alongside other Chiral Mad 2 authors and plenty of other wonderful writers.

I came up with the idea for "Rondelium Girl" while reading The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era, a history book that I reviewed for the Christian Science Monitor while wearing my journalist/book critic hat. In the book, author Craig Nelson mentions an American dancer, Loie Fuller, who was famous in Belle Epoque Paris for performances that incorporated billowing phosphorescent veils. At one point, Fuller asked Marie and Pierre Curie for advice on creating "butterfly wings of radium" for her performances. Well, at the phrase "butterfly wings of radium," my imagination was off to the races. You'll have to read the story to find out which direction I headed off in (hint: it includes nostalgia and regret and mad science and chestnuts).

Here's one of the reference images I used while writing, a painting of Loie Fuller by Austrian artist Koloman Moser:

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Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 11.53.32 PM

And here's the Bois de Vincennes, a large park on the eastern side of Paris (its western counterpart is the more famous Bois de Boulogne) and an important setting in the story.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here's to spring and story sales and the dollar oysters and gin & tonic that I'm going to go consume tonight to celebrate!