Category: Writing

Last Girl Standing (short story clip)

From my short story published in the limitless Visions VII: Universes anthology:

When I first saw the Professor, I thought he was a dingbatter, the kind of tourist who would come to our little Outer Banks Island, lean out the car window and shout, “Hey kid, what time does the 4 o’clock ferry leave?” But he wasn’t that way at all.

I met him when I was working behind the counter at Momma’s video store. My real job was to get on my bike and deliver videos, but Momma wanted to go out to lunch, so she said “Amelie, you’re on the register.” and I was stuck inside.

Luckily my best friend Jen showed up. Momma was gone, and when the cat’s away, the mice will play. We got a pile of returned videos from the Adult Section and tried to find the funniest titles. Jen very delicately put her long black hair behind her ear and presented C. Assablanca. I found Tom Dare, Crack Detective. We were already giggling ourselves silly when the Professor came up to the counter with Paper Moon. That sent us into hysterics. No one can laugh harder than thirteen year-old girls.

He brushed the sleeve of his jacket and said “Young ladies!”

I stopped laughing. The man had the whole professor look down, from the tweed jacket with elbow patches to the shock of white Einstein hair. His dark face was framed by a grey goatee and topped off with little gold-rimmed glasses. Why would such a respectable dude be renting porn?

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Miss Patel’s Holiday (short story clip)


[This story was inspired by a somewhat disinterested tourist I saw in Venice]

Life used to be good. On a regular day, I’d get up around noon. Maggie was at work, Angie was in school, I could shower my meaty self and smoke in peace. Then, comb my thick black hair, pray the first novena, put on a pair of sunglasses to cover my bloodshot eyes and go to the cafe. Bang down some high-test espressos. Watch the skirts go by, shoot the shit with Uncle Stanz and the guys.

Before the tourists got in, I’d pack the underside of the seats with bootleg smokes and JoySticks, cover them with a cushion before the cops cruise by. Then wait for our marks, umm … chumps … umm … tourists to show.
On a scale from one to ten, farm girls from Tuscany in town for a bachelorette party were the best tourists, definite nines. Silicon Dendrites from one moon over were my least favorite. They were great trading partners – who else would buy tons of brine waste from our desalinization plants – but they talked in farts and ooze. Not great conversationalists.

Second from the worst were Deepwater Blavoks from two moons over. Educated and urbane, they saw us the way we saw the dendrites; lower creatures. With them it was a short exchange of sharp-toothed pleasantries, swipe the credit card and slither into the water, on their way to a methane spa.

The best, the absolute tens were our lost cousins, the Earthmen.

“Miss Patel’s Holiday” is part of the awesome, futuristic, Visions VI, Galaxies anthology, edited by Carrol Fix.

Also available via Amazon and Barnes and Noble

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Concept art for my ‘Murmuration’ series

murmuration

A murmuration of starlings is a system that’s ready to be almost instantly and completely transformed, like metals becoming magnetized or liquid turning to gas. Each starling is connected to every other. When they turns in unison, it’s a phase transition (def. – when a substance changes from a solid, liquid, or gas state to a different state. Every element and substance can transition from one phase to another at a specific combination of temperature and pressure.)

At the individual level, the rules guiding this are relatively simple. When your neighbor moves, so do you. Depending on the flock’s size, speed and individual flight physiologies, the large-scale pattern changes. But we don’t know yet what physiological mechanisms allow this to happen almost simultaneously with two birds separated by hundreds of feet and hundreds of other birds.

The implications extend beyond birds. Starlings may be the most visible and beautiful example of a biological transition that operates in proteins and neurons, hinting at universal principles yet to be understood.

More about Murmuration (via Wired)

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Joining #NaNoWriMo

I’ve got a giant and super-messy first draft that I’m trying to put into readable form, so I’m using #NaNoWriMo2016 as a guideline to get me into a 1,500 word-per-day writing/editing schedule.

Word count updates will be here.

If you’re joining and need a writing buddy, I’m ‘Mary P Madigan’

Wishing everyone the best of luck!

Cleaning Out My Illustrations Folder

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A comic about a Repo Lady I worked on years ago with Dean Esmay (he wrote it, I did the sketches)

J. Robert Oppenheimer talks about the Manhattan Project

Doing research for my book, tentatively titled “Bye, Bye Blackbird”. Oddly enough, he sounds kind of like Mr. Rogers

Groueff: After the discussion with Lawrence. Was that [Mark] Oliphant?

Oppenheimer: You will have to provide the name because I will not.

Groueff: Okay.

Oppenheimer: And after that, I got interested. Lawrence had this fantastic electromagnetic method that I went into some ways in increasing its effectiveness by a very large factor, which did work but it was just a question of how to design magnetic fields, really. And after Pearl Harbor, there was a meeting setting up the Metallurgical Laboratory and I attended that.

Groueff: That was in Chicago.

Oppenheimer: That was in Chicago, probably the second of January or the 26th of December—it was just after either Christmas or New Year. You can find that out. And during the spring, I did have a communication from [Gregory] Breit asking me if I would like to work with him. But for reasons which are known but not clearly to me, Compton felt that he should have at the Metallurgical Laboratory some group looking into the actual problems of the bomb and not the reactor. And I think he wanted Carl Anderson, a cosmic ray physicist from CalTech, to be in charge of that but Anderson refused. The Project was in bad order, it was thought that it was badly run, they would never get anywhere, and that there were more useful things to do for the war.

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Remembering David Bowie

The Second Volume of 47 – 16: Short Fiction and Poetry Inspired by David Bowie is here!

Writers, poets, and artists share their memories of Bowie. My short story, The Meditation Center at the Corner of the Dark Dao Universe, about accepting and/or cheating death – is included.

All proceeds from the sale of this book in print and digital are being donated to Cancer Research and Cancer Care.

Many thanks to writer/editor Chris Thompson for putting this awesome idea together!

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What Would Teddy Do?

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What Would Teddy Do?

Brooklyn hipsters meet the living dead – my short story won Honorable Mention in Liberty Island’s “Summer of Love” contest!

Dawn was naked and sweating, trying to hold an Amazon warrior pose. I was sketching her, my pencil like a wisp of wind following the curls of her hair, the gold light dancing on her round belly, the curve of her toes. This was all I’d ever need, a beauty that blocked out the rude noises of the real world.

“Peter!” she shouted.

I jumped. My eraser bounced across my lap, followed by my pencils. I tried to grab them but instead smeared the drawing. Ruined.

“You really don’t hear a thing I say!”

I was about to get mad, but then my bones started to ache. I could feel when she was going to cry the way an old mariner senses rain. If I said anything contrary, the tears would pour down.

“I just told you I quit my job!”

“Oh, heck.” I said, gathering up my pencils “Why’d you do that?” If it wasn’t for her job slinging Kombucha at Cafe Bliss, we’d never make the rent…

Read more What Would Teddy Do?

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Creative Writing : The Top Ten Science Fiction Magazines

Via Creative Writing:

1. The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction http://www.sfsite.com/fsf/

This is a professional magazine that began publishing in 1949 which makes it the second oldest continually publishing science fiction magazines in the country. They have one up on the oldest however, popularity. The publication is tremendously popular. It is the most widely read science fiction magazine in the country. It is consistently outstanding and publishing outstanding authors like (from their site) “Stephen King’s Dark Tower, Daniel Keyes’s Flowers for Algernon, and Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz.” This magazine is the cream of the alien crop.” Fantasy & Science Fiction magazines represents all of what’s best in science fiction today. The publication has an Alexa rating of about 135,000.

2. Analog Science Fiction and Fact http://www.analogsf.co.m/0906/issue_06.shtml

This is a professional magazine that began publishing started publishing 1930 and is as they say “often considered the magazine where science fiction grew up.” They do it very well and have published many outstanding science fiction authors including “Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Spider Robinson, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Michael F. Flynn.” The publication is the oldest science fiction magazine in the country, and they are consistently nominated for award after award. This publication has done an unequivocal job over the last 80 years of keeping great science fiction writing alive in print. They have an Alexa rating of about 691,000.

3. Asimov’s Science Fiction http://www.asimovs.com/

This is a professional magazine that began publishing began publishing in 1977 and is simply a high quality science fiction magazine that showcases some of the best in science fiction today. They publish great authors and the publication is one of the best science fiction magazines ever published, hands down. They have an Alexa rating of about 304,000,

4. Strange Horizons http://www.strangehorizons.com

Began publishing in 2000. They are a very popular online science fiction magazine. In 2007 they were nominated for a Hugo award. Works from their issues are consistently chosen for inclusion in many national anthologies. They are a science fiction magazine of the best kind. Strange Horizons represents where science fiction magazines are going in the future. The publication has an Alexa rating of about 200,000.

More..

Sari Sari

You should have been here an hour ago. All of MamaSan’s friends in Pirate’s Cove were there for her funeral. We were all cleaned up, for once, in proper black. Palm trees were swaying over her freshly-dug grave. The suns were shining. I’d done a new tattoo for the occasion, drawn from a photo of her hammering the shelf over the bar. She was in her overalls, her short-cropped hair sticking out at all angles, cigar clenched between her teeth. I’d put the tattoo on my left shoulder, the last patch of my skin that was bare. It had sensors that could feel the mood in the air. I didn’t need it to tell me, the mood was sad.

I was at the podium, giving a eulogy for her when the thin, leathery Police Chief Ponseca, (a.k.a. ‘Loco Pete,’ a.k.a. the former Vice President of Charon), stormed in with his battered robocops. He got behind the podium, cuffed me and declared that I, Elizabeth Aguilar (a.k.a. ‘Lady Inked’) was a suspect in the murder of my guardian, Nicole Santos (a.k.a. ‘MamaSan’, proprietor of the High Dive Bar). I was also a ‘person of interest’ in the murders of twenty people who had been crushed to death by a serial killer appropriately known as ‘The Crusher.’

“Who is accusing me?” I cried as he twisted my arms behind my back.

“I am” Ami Watanabe, our head waitress, shouted. She peeked out from behind the robocops, black hair streaming in the wind, her slender frame hidden behind their rusty, dented bodies.

“You jerk!” I said. “I saved your life.” I don’t know why Ami was out to get me. Maybe it was the bad tattoo I gave her. Or the pink shirt I borrowed and never returned.

Read more of “Sari Sari” and many other futuristic tales in Visions IV: Space Between Stars.

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Visions IV – The Space Between the Stars
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