Upcoming anthology appearances, with an awkward note


Let’s start with the good news. I’m going to be in two anthologies coming out this summer, both of them funded via Kickstarter: Help Fund My Robot Army & Other Improbably Kickstarters, and the shared world Walk The Fire, Vol 2. Don’t worry, no one is asking you to back a campaign, I promise. These projects were closed months ago.

Again, the books will be available some time this summer, and believe me I’ll post links to buy them when they’re out.

The complicated part is this: I’m glad both books are coming out and I’m pleased with the stories I sold them, even though both rejected my initial submissions.

The WALK THE FIRE antho is a shared-world deal, centering on a future where people can travel via special fires. That’s right, fire. You step into the flames in one place and emerge in another. It’s teleportation with a few complications added in.

Anyway, the first story I wrote, “A No Without A Thank You”, was basically a slam on Doctor Who, because I thought the fires allowed people to travel through time and space. The anthology bible even said “time and space” in one spot. Feedback from the editor insisted that I hadn’t followed the guidelines correctly, and I had to read the bible several times before I worked out that it was supposed to be “time and space” only. The guidelines as a whole only made sense if they were space-only. Oops.

At that point, with a rejected story, I could have withdrawn; I do have a shitload of work to do to fulfill my own Kickstarter. But! I’d also promoted the campaign to my readers and thought it would be unfair to them if I back out of the project now. So I set everything aside and wrote a second story, called “Sterile Oceans”, which was accepted. And I’m proud of that story. Plus, “A No Without…” is ready to go into the short fiction collection I listed as a stretch goal for my Kickstarter backers. So that’s all good.

HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY… brought up a similar situation, although the reasons behind it were different. That anthology is a collection of stories told in the format of a Kickstarter campaign–with a sales pitch, stretch goals, comments, the whole deal–and my original submission was a parody of the “Above the Game” campaign, (which I won’t link) that PUA manual that supposedly advocated sexual assault. My story was about a PUA who planned to sell (short-acting) love potions, and who insisted they were completely different from roofies.

It was dark, yeah, but the editor decided it was too dark and bounced it. Once again, I had a choice of disappointing backers or writing a second attempt. The followup story was accepted, and it’s fun (but deliberately slight) and technically, this also frees up the PUA/love potion story for my own story collection.

Except, now that this loser in UCSB (I’m not posting his name online) has had his rampage, I’m tempted to yank it all together. The original story was supposed to be darkly funny, but I’m not feeling it anymore.

Anyway, two new anthologies mean four new stories from me this summer (or maybe just three, who knows.) I’m also thinking I need to take a break from Kickstarter anthologies.